'They Cut Me Open Like A Hog'

More

Sticking with this theme of history as debt we come to North Carolina, which on the basis of "promiscuity" and "intelligence" testing, enacted a program of eugenics and sterilization. The program was not a legacy of pre-Civil Rights or pre-World War II America. North Carolina's program began in 1924 and proceeded afoot as late as 1974. Nationally the effort was supported by big money businessmen like Clarence Gamble of Procter & Gamble


Now North Carolina is trying to make amends for the past, but can't quite figure out how. The fact is that sterilization was perfectly legal, if shockingly immoral. Moreover, eugenics was national program enacted, in some form, in most states throughout the country. North Carolina is one of the few states that's actually trying to grapple with the issue. 

Again, the people who authored the policy are long dead. And we are left to pick up the pieces.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In