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

When the N.C. Senate elected Tom Fetzer to the UNC Board of Governors in March, it was widely seen a [...]

The 12 minutes spent on the phone with Duke Energy customer service shed no light on how — or if — c [...]

Crumbling ceilings. Failing air conditioning and heating systems. Broken down school buses. Mold inf [...]

This story has been updated with comments from Jim Womack, who did not respond earlier to questions. [...]

Last week, the General Assembly announced which legislators will serve on the Joint Legislative Task [...]

The latest effort in Washington to repeal and not actually replace the Affordable Care Act has a dif [...]

Conservative group “reviewing” bigoted attacks; funding from major NC corporations implicated Nearly [...]

5---number of days since Senators Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham unveiled a new proposal to repeal [...]

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more