Report: Rowan ranked high in sterilizations

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rowan was among the counties with the most sterilizations during the most active years of state-sanctioned eugenics, according to information released today by the N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation.
From 1946 to 1968, 120 people were sterilized in Rowan, the foundation says.
The Sterilization Victims Foundation staffs the Governor’s Eugenics Task Force, created during the 2009-10 legislative session by Gov. Beverly Perdue to identify and compensate people forcibly sterilized by the state.
The Eugenics Board of North Carolina authorized nearly 7,600 sterilizations from its establishment in 1933 until the practice was abolished in 1974. Many of the people sterilized were poor, undereducated, institutionalized, sick or disabled. They were sterilized by choice, force or coercion.
Though many other states abandoned eugenics after Hitler used the practice trying to purify his nation, the years just after World War II through the 1960s account for about 70 percent of all the sterilizations in North Carolina, the foundation says.
Between July 1946 and June 1968, Mecklenburg County ranked No. 1 in sterilizations with 485, according to numbers provided by the foundation. Guilford ranked second with 167 of the procedures. Rowan was No. 7 with 120.