Students at public schools could start learning about a eugenics program that took place from 1929 to 1974 in North Carolina.
During this time many states including North Carolina enacted laws that allowed the sterilization of the mentally diseased feeble-minded or epileptics.
The Eugenics Board of North Carolina sterilized about 7500 people in an attempt to remove mental illness and social misbehavior from the human gene pool. Most of these people were sterilized against their will.
An N.C. House bill would mandate that schools in North Carolina teach students about the eugenics program as part of their curriculum. It also would require UNC researchers to conduct interviews with some of the survivors in order to document their experiences to share with future generations.
Gov. Bev Perdue's budget also includes $250"000 to compensate those who were sterilized.
""This program essentially served the purpose of sterilizing African-American women who were around child-bearing age"" said Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, one of the sponsors of the bill who wants eugenics history taught in schools.
Insko added that many of these women were not told what was happening to them and it was extremely traumatic for them when they found out that they could not have children.
Sponsors of the bill say it will give those survivors a chance to explain their experiences.
They can tell their stories in their own words"" said Rep. Larry Womble, D-Forsyth, who is a primary sponsor of the bill.
Womble does not think that the cost of collecting survivor testimony will be very high because the evidence of this practice is already archived by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
For too long that part of our history has been hidden away" said Womble.
Womble said he believes that children in school need to learn what happened to a large segment of society.
Dictatorships do not even do things like that to their own children Womble said.
He hopes that there is no real opposition because he said it is the right thing to do.
It is a moral obligation that we have to those victims Womble said.
Insko said she also expects the bill to pass. This bill has a great deal of support in the N.C. House.
It was an era of unenlightenment and we know now that it is not ethical Insko said.
Insko agreed that people need to know about these events that occurred in our past.
We should honor the significant accomplishments but also the significant mistakes that we have made" Insko said.
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