Haddix also said African-Americans and women were targeted by the eugenics program.
The report said 85 percent of the victims were women and 40 percent of victims were non-white, predominantly African-American.
The N.C. General Assembly of 1929 authorized the sterilization of patients who most oftentimes possessed some form of mental disability. In 1933, the General Assembly created the Eugenics Board of North Carolina to review all sterilization, and the board existed until the General Assembly formally abolished it 1977.
Lutz Kaelber, who presented on eugenics at the 2012 Social Science History Association, said N.C. was unique in that there was an increase in sterilizations after 1945 — meaning there is a greater chance for victims to still be alive.
Kaelber, a sociology professor at the University of Vermont, said this compensation program would not have been feasible five years ago.
“I don’t think they would’ve implemented this program in 2008-09 during the financial crisis,” Kaelber said. “No person in the entire United States has ever been compensated for being sterilized under state law yet.”
North Carolina has an estimated 2,000 victims still living — but only 200 people have come forward, said Kaelber.
“It is not easy for victims to come forward, and some do not want to relive the pain that they went through,” he said.
Haddiz said she disagreed with the state’s decision to only compensate victims who were alive on June 30, 2013. “They ought to pay whoever was affected, including the families,” she said.
Haddix said while the monetary compensation will be accepted, it does not erase what was done to individuals by the state.
“I don’t think there is any amount of money to compensate these people whose lives were changed by this program,” Haddix said.
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