RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A proposed budget agreement sets aside $10 million for one-time payments to North Carolina’s forced sterilization victims, but the final amount paid to each individual will depend on how many come forward.
Under the terms of the $20.6 billion compromise budget unveiled by the Republican legislative majority on Sunday, each verified victim of the state-sponsored eugenics program that ended in the 1970s will split an equal share of the $10 million.
North Carolina forcibly sterilized about 7,600 people whom the state deemed feeble-minded or otherwise undesirable between 1929 and 1974. Some of the victims were as young as 10 and chosen because they were promiscuous or did not get along with their schoolmates.
N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, a group created by the state to study the issue, estimated last year that as many as 1,800 victims may still be alive. However, the only 168 living victims had then come forward to have their identities verified against state records.
The legislature has debated for years whether to compensate eugenics victims. A bill to pay each living victim $50,000 passed the state House last year with the support of then-Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue and Speaker Thom Tillis, but stalled in the Senate. Opponents questioned whether the plan could set a precedent for other groups to seek compensation, such as American Indians or the descendants of African slaves.
As lawmakers have debated the issue, hundreds of the aging victims are thought to have died.
Jordan Shaw, Tillis’ spokesman, said Monday the $10 million in the budget was a compromise based on trying to pay each verified sterilization victim $50,000 while addressing concerns of some in the Senate that total costs could balloon if hundreds of additional victims come forward.
The $10 million in the current bill will cover payments of $50,000 each for 200 people. If 1,000 victims are eventually verified, however, the $10 million now on the table will cover payments of only $10,000 each.
Former Rep. Larry Womble, a Winston-Salem Democrat who helped lead the fight to compensate the victims, said Monday that regardless of the final amount paid to each survivor, the state is making an important statement. North Carolina is set to become the first state to pay compensation to the victims of a government-run sterilization program.
“There really is no amount of money that can make them whole again,” Womble said.
While many states had similar eugenics programs, most of them were abandoned after the practice was associated with the Nazis after World War II. But North Carolina actually expanded its program after the war.
The budget bill covers all victims still living as of June 30. Payments will be issued in 2015 to all verified through state records, or their survivors.
Though the bill specifies the names of those compensated be kept confidential, Womble said he doubts there will be a rush of hundreds of victims coming forward to seek payment.
“It all depends on who steps forward, because many still don’t want it to be known that this was done to them,” he said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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