(RALEIGH) – State officials confirmed an increase in the number of verified victims of the state’s former Eugenics Board Program. The new tally counts 186 individuals in 61 counties, including 168 living victims.
“Despite reduced staff and funding, outreach is continuing and we are confirming more cases,” said Gov. Bev Perdue in a press release. “We came so close to achieving compensation for those who were victimized by the state before the Legislature refused to approve my budget recommendation. We cannot stand idle on the sidelines while these aging citizens die without due compensation from what the state did to them.”
Gov. Perdue’s budget called for providing $50,000 compensation to each living victim, as well as certain health services and establishing a permanent exhibit about the Eugenics movement in the N.C. Museum of History. In June, the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics revised down the number of likely living victims from about 1,500 to 2,000 to about 1,350 to 1,800.
Lenoir County, where the Caswell Center is located, continues to have the highest number of verifications with 24 matches to N.C. Eugenics Board records. Mecklenburg, which had the highest number of procedures of any North Carolina county, follows with 15 verifications, then Wake with 12.Among the Top 10 counties, Scotland is the only one to have no matches to date.
Counties with new verifications include Lee, Montgomery, Buncombe and Edgecombe. While procedures were performed in all 100 counties, 43 counties still report zero verifications.
The N.C. Eugenics Board implemented a program of involuntary sterilization that took place in all 100 counties between 1929 and 1974. By the end of the program, nearly 7,600 documented people were sterilized. The table below shows a county breakdown of verified victims based on the county of residence listed on sterilization petitions. This breakdown is compared to sterilizations performed per county during the peak program years of 1946 through 1968.