Tag Archives: North Carolina

For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S.

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Longreads

Belle Boggs | The New New South | August 2013 | 62 minutes (15,377 words)

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We’re proud to present, for the first time online, “For the Public Good,” Belle Boggs‘s story for The New New South about the shocking history of forced sterilizations that occurred in the United States, and the story of victims in North Carolina, with original video by Olympia Stone.

As Boggs explained to us last year: 

“Last summer I met Willis Lynch, a man who was sterilized by the state of North Carolina more than 65 years earlier, when he was only 14 years old and living in an institution for delinquent children. Willis was one of 7,600 victims of North Carolina’s eugenics program, and one of the more outspoken and persistent advocates for compensation.

“At the time I was struggling with my own inability to conceive, and the debate…

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A Loray Mill of the Mind

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My family moved to North Carolina in the late 1980s, having left a stagnant and hopeless West Virginia in search of greater economic opportunities. My mom and grandparents and I first tried Indiana for a few years, but eventually left for the greener shores of the Sunbelt. We came to Gastonia, a modest-sized former textile town (it once boasted of having “more looms and spindles within its hundred-mile radius than… any other southern city”) in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area. An aunt and uncle had already paved the way for us, in a sort of internal chain-migration, leaving WV for NC several years before. I once asked my mom why Suzy and Jim had settled on Gastonia as a place to live, and I’ll never forget her answer:

It’s about as far as you can get from Charleston on a tank of gas.

Gastonia became our home—wild, shabby, shambling…

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