Uncategorized

Hiding our history

For many years North Carolina legislators have considered compensating victims of the state’s official eugenics program. Under the program citizens deemed unfit to have children were sterilized.

This year there was real momentum to give survivors cash compensation. That momentum died as the budget gap mounted and, once again, helping the people we irreparably harmed was kicked to the bottom of the priority list.

Legislators did decide to make a few gestures toward remembering this shameful part of our history. They mandated that history classes teach about eugenics. And legislators decided that the state should erect a historical marker acknowledging the eugenics program.

The problem is that legislators were all agreed, at least in the committee meetings I attended, that the historical marker should stand on capitol square where visitors often walk around and read the signs. No one wanted the eugenics marker stuck on some side road that doesn’t get any foot traffic.

So I was surprised to see the historical marker as I zipped out of town the other day. It is on a side street that gets virtually no foot traffic — exactly what legislators said they didn’t want.

How did the marker end up on McDowell, several blocks from the capitol? Is this the best way to remember victims of our misdeeds?

One Comment


  1. Rob Schofield

    July 23, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Out of sight, out of mind.

Check Also

Context is key for understanding Insurance Commissioner’s Affordable Care Act comments

Many people were surprised to see a story ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Students, faculty and staff at UNC continue protest the Chapel Hill campus’ Confederate monument, “S [...]

On a sultry day last September, Megan Stilley arrived at Lanier Farms, a large swine operation in ru [...]

When North Carolina lawmakers approved what one Republican described as a “historic” investment in r [...]

Lawmakers late last week released two new versions of a judicial redistricting bill, making these th [...]

The General Assembly’s latest mashup legislation is an example of government at its worst In the com [...]

The post Tied up in knots appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Every day brings new reports that Congress is interested in further whittling away at the programs c [...]

When Congress finally passed a continuing resolution last month allowing the government to re-open, [...]

Upcoming Events

Friday, Feb. 16

12:00 PM

Crucial Conversation – Prof. Peter Edelman discusses his new book, Not a Crime to be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America

Prof. Edelman is coming to the Triangle to mark the 50th anniversary of Durham-based nonprofit MDC. His visit is the first of a series of MDC-sponsored events focused on ways that Southern leaders can work together to create an Infrastructure of Opportunity that shapes a South where all people thrive.”