N.C. sterilization victims to receive $10 million in compensation
ABOVE PHOTO: Elaine Riddick, right, and her son Tony Riddick shown in June 2011, listen during the Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation task force compensation hearing in Raleigh, N.C.
(AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)
By Hannington Dia
State House Speaker Thom Tillis said that the lawmakers’ vote to hand out $10 million in compensation was not easily reached. “There were challenges, we had to better educate our members — and then of course we had to work through the fiscal challenges — but at the end of the day, what we’ve done is something truly historic,” he said.
Between 1929 and 1974, North Carolina forcibly sterilized thousands of men, women, and children — part of a larger eugenics movement that believed traits such as violence and alcoholism were genetic and could be removed.
Many of the victims were African-American and female, including Elaine Riddick. In 1967, a 13-year-old Riddick was raped and impregnated. The state had her sterilized immediately after she gave birth to a baby boy, with doctors cutting up and tying her Fallopian tubes.
She was never informed about the procedure.
“Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said to NBC News during a profile story two years ago. “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”
According to Riddick’s records, the state sterilized her because they saw her as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.”
Riddick only found out she was sterile when a doctor in New York told her so six years later.
The state’s decision to pay the victims of the sterilization program was the right one, she says. “People need to know that injustice was done towards them and they need to be compensated for that,” Still, Riddick believes the money isn’t enough:
“People need to know that injustice was done towards them and they need to be compensated for that,” she added.
North Carolina became one of the first states to publicly apologize for the eugenics program in 2002. It was one of 31 states to have practiced the program.
Initially, the eugenics theory began as a program to control welfare spending on poor White women and men.
Eventually, however, the focus began shifting to women and Blacks; a third of the sterilizations were performed on underage girls, some of whom were as young as 9 years old.
Forty percent of the victims were non-White. Estimations place the number of people the state sterilized at 7,600. Of those, only 177 living victims have been identified.
“I hope this provides some closure to what I believe is one of the darkest chapters in the state’s history,” Tillis said.
The $10 million will be distributed starting in 2015. This is so that more victims will have time to come and collect compensation. Should a victim die, the compensation will go to their estate.
+ Top Story
Charges have been dropped against three Black teens who were arrested while waiting on a school bus in Rochester, New York. “After reviewing the facts associated with these arrests, I have decided to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley in a statement Tuesday.
American students once again lag behind many of their Asian and European peers on a global exam, a continuing trend that often is blamed on child poverty and a diverse population in U.S. schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the results a “picture of educational stagnation"...
An Ohio school superintendent, two coaches and a principal were charged by a grand jury that investigated whether other laws were broken in the rape of a drunken 16-year-old girl by two football players, the state’s attorney general said Monday.
The woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape was convicted of second-degree murder Friday in the stabbing death of her boyfriend. The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching its verdict in the trial of 34-year-old Crystal Mangum.
Discovered in a private collection in Portland, the 1893 recording of “Mama’s Black Baby Boy” by the New York-based Unique Quartet was one of only two copies known to exist and sold for $1,100. The other resides in the Library of Congress.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that partisan political elections for the Alabama courts appear to be driving judges' decisions to impose death sentences, overruling juries that have voted to send defendants to prison for life.
The final edition of Smiley & West, the public radio program featuring Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, will air the weekend of December 27, 2013. The show, which became best known for its controversial condemnations of President Barack Obama’s administration, ran for three years.
George Zimmerman is once again a free man after an arrest on criminal charges - but his freedom carries conditions. The former neighborhood watch volunteer who was acquitted in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin earlier this year was released from jail Tuesday pending...