July 26, 2013
North Carolina could become the first state to compensate people who were forcibly sterilized in programs across the country that began during the Great Depression and continued for decades, targeting individuals deemed feeble-minded or otherwise unfit.
In a proposed budget, lawmakers have set aside $10 million for one-time payments to an estimated 1,500 people still alive who were part of a state program that sterilized 7,600 men, women and children from 1929 to 1974. The amount of each payout would be determined by how many people came forward.
North Carolina is among 32 states that ran so-called eugenics programs, although may states abandoned them after World War II because of the movement’s association with the practices of Nazi Germany. By contrast, North Carolina actually expanded its program in the postwar era.