Between 1929 and 1974, the state – through the N.C. Eugenics Board – authorized the sterilizations of some 7,600 North Carolinians who were classified as mentally ill, epileptic or “feebleminded.”
Lela Mae Moore Dunston of Raleigh was a courageous advocate, passionately arguing that she and the other victims of the state’s forced sterilization program should be compensated. She died July 9, shortly after hearing that the state Senate had let the strong push to compensate fizzle.
Dunston was just 63 when she died from longstanding health problems. Other victims, such as 79-year-old Willis Lynch of Warren County, have repeatedly told me that the state is waiting for them to die so it won’t have to compensate them.
John Railey of the Fay Observer feels that Dunston’s death should stand for something. It should be a clarion call for Gov. Bev Perdue to spend her last weeks in office pushing the state legislature to finally help these hurting and dying victims, if not before she leaves office, at least in January as the legislature reconvenes.
Charmaine Fuller Cooper, the former head of Perdue’s foundation on compensation, told John Railey of the Fay Observer, that Dunston was very important in the compensation fight. She’d called Dunston in the hospital to let her know about the bad news from the Senate. “She was not happy at all,” Cooper said.
The story of Dunston’s sterilization is tragic. Her story is not that different from many other victims of the state’s program.
Dunston was 13. She lived with her mother in Wilmington. She was pregnant with her first child. It would be the only baby the state would let her have. She raised that son.
Like most victims, Dunston had no idea that what happened to her was part of a nationwide movement. Finally, a few years ago, she read about the state sterilization program in a newspaper. She tracked down state records that confirmed she was one of the more than 7,600 victims of the program that, by zeroing in on black women and girls like her in its last years, was genocide.
“I didn’t understand it,” Dunston told me. “They just went on and did what they wanted to do. Chopped on us like we were animals.”
Lela Mae Moore Dunston lived in Raleigh, just a few miles away from where a board of men and women she’d never met voted to have her sterilized in March of 1963.
Many of these victims have read the petitions for sterilizations that social workers wrote about them. Often, they contain more racism and class prejudice than hard facts. The petition to sterilize Dunston says that she and her mother “live in an area that has a low socio-economic level.” Dunston is described as “a rather alert little Negro girl” who “wore a very ragged sweater and her hair literally stood on end all over her head.”
That was “a bunch of baloney,” Dunston said.
In the early 1960s, as Gov. Terry Sanford was leading North Carolina through integration, the sterilization program, which operated beneath the radar, began targeting black women of modest means. Sometimes, the petitions contained outright lies, as in this line from Dunston’s: “Both the mother and Lela Mae understand that sterilization will result in Lela Mae not being able to reproduce and both seem happy with this.”
Dunston said she didn’t know what the operation was about. “I was only 13,” Dunston said. “Thirteen years old you don’t know nothing about this kind of mess. You’re a child yourself.”
Willis Lynch was just 14-years-old when he was sterilized at a state training school in Kinston, N.C., in the late 1940’s. At the time the Eugenics Board had declared that no ward of the Caswell Training School, “should be released before being sterilized, except in the few instances where normal children have been committed through error.” Willis was sent to the training school by his mother, who was overwhelmed with caring for seven children on welfare.
Here is a sample of what the Eugenics Victims have said:
Elaine Riddick: “I have to get out what the state of North Carolina did to me. I am not feeble minded. I’ve never been feeble minded. They slandered me. They ridiculed and harassed me. They cut me open like I was a hog, My body was too young for what they did to me. I had to have a child at the age of 14. When I had my son, at the same time they took my child in cesarean and then did that to me. What do you think I’m worth? … I’ve never had nobody to take care of me. I’ve had to do this all by myself. I never had anyone give me anything. I had to pick my own self up…What am I worth? The kids I didn’t have. Couldn’t have. What are they worth?”
Tony Riddick added, “You harmed my mother and killed her womb . When u look forward – It’s genocide – premeditated murder – you deserve to be punished….This is sinister. I know I don’t have the power to bring justice myself….We say we are a nation that’s concerned and compassionate and these victims have not been compensated yet. For my mother, it’s been 43 years…God will hold you accountable for what you have done to my mom.”
LeLa Dunston (victim)
“I can’t have no babies…They told me to sign papers. I didn’t sign papers. That was not my signature on these papers…I need a reward or something…some kind of compensation for all they put me through. I wanted more children. I wouldn’t have minded having a daughter. Maybe two, maybe three.”
Australia Clay (victim’s family member)
“Every victim that went through any of this victimization was a guinea pig. A science guinea pig. It was bogus medicine. Bogus science…This is North Carolina’s holocaust. We need a wall. We need a library. My mother needs her name and picture in a library room.”
Melissa Hyatt (victim’s loved one)
“Nobody explained what the surgery was for, at least to him.”
Karen Beck (victim’s family member)
“I’m sure the surgeons that wielded the knives against their small bodies believed they were doing the right thing. Indeed, how could any of them be wrong?”
Deborah Chesson (victim’s family member)
“The eugenics board has deemed my mother nothing. To me, she is everything….You tore families apart. You hurt people. There’s no compensation that can put that back.”
After years of telling and re-telling her story, Sterilization victim, Elaine Riddick is pleading with the state of North Carolina to take responsibility for what they did to her through their Eugenics Programs.
“They cut me open like I was a hog,” said Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at age 14. “I didn’t even know nothing about this stuff.”
Riddick, now 57, said her only crime was being poor, BLACK, and from a bad home environment.
Listen to what the State of North Carolina’s Eugenic Board (Funded by Margaret Sanger supporter- Clarence Gamble more below) did to this “African American woman” : Elaine Riddick
( this clip below from the powerful documentary on eugenics and black genocide called: Maafa21 )
Clarence Gamble a supporter and funder of the founder of Planned Parenthood’s founder Margaret Sanger… funded the North Carolina Eugenics Society which sterilized this woman and many black women as well. Click Here : Clarence Gamble.
Gamble also supported Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Movement. Sanger was the founder of Planned Parenthood and she had many of her board members and presidents were members of the American Eugenics Society.
According to the North Carolina Winston-Salem Journal, “Clarence Gamble who helped found the Human Betterment League of North Carolina in 1947 did so to promote eugenic sterilization. Journal research shows a long history of abuses in the N.C. sterilization program – abuses that Gamble consistently glossed over..” Gamble wanted sterilizations to increase rather than decrease, and increase they did.
Think the targeting of blacks for sterilization was coincidence? Just like they way they are targeted today for abortion??? Think again:
Read what Planned Parenthood Founder, Margaret Sanger, wrote to Dr. Clarence Gamble (who funded the State of North Carolina’s Eugenics Programs) in a letterdated December 19, 1939,
“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. The minister’s work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the Federation [of Eugenicists] as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” that plan was called “The NEGRO Project”.
Read all the ways Eugenics Financier Clarence Gamble supporter Planned Parenthood’s founder: Margaret Sanger, on the website of the Pathfinder Website, an organization founded by Clarence Gamble Here
Learn More on eugenics in the film Maafa21 (trailer below)
Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, was a member in good standing with the racist American Eugenics Society. Sanger had board members who were known for their racist writing and Sanger published many of those in her publications. Sanger called for parents to have a QUOTE: LICENSE TO BREED controlled by people who believed in her eugenic philosophy. She wanted all would be parents to go before her eugenic boards to request a “PERMIT TO BREED“.
Margaret Sanger once said, “More children from the fit, less from the unfit — that is the chief aim of birth control.” Birth Control Review, May 1919, p. 12
In Margaret Sanger’s, “Birth Control and Racial Betterment,” Feb 1919. Birth Control Review , Library of Congress Microfilm 131:0099B .
Sanger states, “Before eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment can succeed, they must first clear the way for Birth Control. Like the advocates of Birth Control, the eugenists, for instance, are seeking to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit. Both are seeking a single end but they lay emphasis upon different methods.
Eugenists emphasize the mating of healthy couples for the conscious purpose of producing healthy children, the sterilization of the unfit to prevent their populating the world with their kind and they may, perhaps, agree with us that contraception is a necessary measure among the masses of the workers, where wages do not keep pace with the growth of the family and its necessities in the way of food, clothing, housing, medical attention, education and the like.
We who advocate Birth Control, on the other hand, lay all our emphasis upon stopping not only the reproduction of the unfit but upon stopping all reproduction when there is not economic means of providing proper care for those who are born in health. …While I personally believe in the sterilization of the feeble-minded, the insane and syphilitic, I have not been able to discover that these measures are more than superficial deterrents when applied to the constantly growing stream of the unfit… Eugenics without Birth Control seems to us a house builded upon the sands. It is at the mercy of the rising stream of the unfit…“
Sanger also called for those who were poor and what she considered to be “morons and immoral‘ , to be shipped to colonies where they would live in “Farms and Open Spaces” dedicated to brainwashing these so-called “inferior types” into having what Sanger called, “Better moral conduct”.
“ I consider that the world and almost our civilization for the next twenty-five years, is going to depend upon a simple, cheap, safe contraceptive to be used in poverty stricken slums, jungles, and among the most ignorant people. Even this will not be sufficient, because I believe that now, immediately, there should be national sterilization for certain dysgenic types of our population who are being encouraged to breed and would die out were the government not feeding them.”
Planned Parenthood Founder, Margaret Sanger, 1950
In addition, Planned Parenthood’s top award is called the Margaret Sanger Award, despite the fact that Sanger was an admitted Klan speaker. This is what Sanger wrote in her autobiography, “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan…I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses…I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak…In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.” (Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, P.366 Read it here http://library.lifedynamics.com//Autobiography/Chapter%2029.pdf)
The Eugenics links to Sanger and Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood invites the Director of the American Eugenics Society to speak at it’s luncheon. Robert C. Cook was invited to speak at the meeting. The meeting was held to discuss the objectives of Planned Parenthood…but…don’t take my word for it: Read the article yourself here:
(Source:Schenectady Gazette – Oct 20, 1958)
Professor Henry P. Fairchild: Former Past President of the American Eugenics Society was also a Vice President of Planned Parenthood….but…don’t take my word for it: Read the article yourself – here
( SOURCE: Schenectady Gazette – Dec 5, 1951)
Vice Chairman of the American Birth Control League brags that birth control was accepted by the “most distinguished” of the Eugenics Society- here
(SOURCE: The Miami News – Nov 21, 1921)
(LBJ) Lyndon B. Johnson accepts the Margaret Sanger Award and it is mentioned that Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman are co-chairs of a Planned Parenthood honorary council- here
( SOURCE: Lodi News-Sentinel – Oct 10, 1966)
1947- Margaret Sanger says that women should stop having babies because there won’t be enough food to feed them otherwise. ( Have we heard that recently?) well -that was in 1947 and women continued to pro-create…did we all starve? Just checking?
Read article here
(SOURCE: The Evening Independent – Jul 2, 1947)
NAACP – accused Planned Parenthood clinics of “genocide’ – here
( SOURCE: The Pittsburgh Press – Dec 14, 1967)
There is some suspicion in a New England black community surveyed that family planning programs are forms of black genocide, a team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts found. (SOURCE: Genocide Fears of Blacks Found in Birth Plan Study 4/11/1971)
Margaret Sanger helped Bermuda set up birth control clinics when they discovered there was a huge increase in the Negro Population – ( Times Daily – Jun 16, 1937) here
Margaret Sanger concerned that the Well-to-do is using Birth Control while the “feeble minded” are not. She urges that birth control gets legalized so that these “unskilled” , “sub-normal” and “feeble minded” will not out-number the “intellectuals” (The Pittsburgh Press – Dec 30, 1928) Here
In 1962, Vice President of the American Eugenics Society at the time, Dr. Alan Guttmacher wants abortion laws patterned after Sweden and other nations. One reason they list to allow abortions is :EUGENIC ! Also- Guttmacher at this point says he does NOT BELIEVE that abortion should be left up to the patient or their doctor, rather it should be up to “Special Board” to approve the abortion. (Eugenic Board, perhaps?) ( The Miami News – Aug 12, 1962) Read Here ( Alan Guttmacher is a former Vice President of The American Eugenics Society and a Former President of Planned Parenthood)
NEVER NEVER FORGET WHAT THESE EUGENICS PEOPLE DID: