NC To Pay Sterilization Victims

    ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, AUG. 14, 2011 AND THEREAFTER - This Friday, July 22, 2011 photo shows Elaine Riddick in her home in Atlanta. Riddick is fighting for compensation from her native state of North Carolina over her sterilization as a young girl. Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina sterilized more than 7,600 individuals in the name of "improving" the state's human stock. By the time the eugenics program was halted, the majority of those neutered were young, black, poor women. In many ways, Elaine Riddick's has become the face of the movement to compensate victims of what most now acknowledge as a dark, misguided era in the nation's past - other states had such programs, too. (AP Photo/Joey Ivansco)

    Joey Ivansco/AP

    You may think that eugenics is the stuff of ancient history, a dark chapter of a distant past we'd like to forget. Targets in the United States included people in institutions, the "feeble-minded" and children of alcoholics. But it went on in the form of forced sterilization into the 1970s, and now one state proposes to right its governmental wrongs. North Carolina, which likely sterilized 7,000 people between 1929 and 1974, passed legislation on Thursday to give $10 million in compensation to victims, of whom only about 200 have yet come forward. Each victim would get about $50,000. If the governor signs the bill, North Carolina will become the first state to compensate such victims.

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