Eugenics in North Carolina

Created by Sarah Elizabeth Taylor

The twentieth century was a time of great progress for North Carolina. New scientific advancements helped to steadily advance the health of the citizens, but the state hoped to improve their health further by establishing state-wide programs. One of the largest of these was the Eugenics program, in which the state hoped to increase the quality of health in future generations of North Carolinians by controlling who was allowed to procreate. This study guide chronicles the development of the Eugenics program in North Carolina. The featured documents record the ideology behind the practice, the development of the policies of eugenic sterilization, as well as the program's decline and reparations movements.

  • North Carolina. Bulletin of the North Carolina Board of Health. 1887-1973.
    This set of documents gives an overview of the views of the North Carolina Board of Health. Each volume consists of articles and documents that affected the health of North Carolinians at the time. The featured documents discuss the emergence of the Eugenics movement in North Carolina, as well as the ideology behind the practice.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Late 20th Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens' Rights
    • Significant Dates: 1936, 1944, 1968
    • Alternate Names: Bulletin of the North Carolina State Board of Health
  • North Carolina State Board of Health. Biennial Report of the North Carolina State Board of Health. 1915-1972.
    This set of documents consists of the reports of the State Board of Health to the North Carolina General Assembly. Each volume contains summaries of the board’s activities, health related articles and reports, tables and statistics, and mandates from the period covered. The featured reports explain the board’s position on the topic of eugenics.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Late 20th Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens' Rights
    • Significant Dates: 1928/1930, 1952/1954
    • Alternate Names: Report of the North Carolina State Board of Health
  • North Carolina. Public Documents. Raleigh, NC: State Printer and Binder, 1827-1972.1917, 1929, 1933, 1935, 1936-1937, 1938-1939, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1959, 1971, 1973, 1977, 2003.
    This set of documents contains an account of the laws passed by the General Assembly from 1917-2003, including arguments in favor of eugenics, the laws that regulated it, statistics on its use in North Carolina, and its abolition.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Legal, Rights, Laws, Health, Citizens' Rights, Statistics
    • Alternate Names: Public Laws and Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly at its Session of…; Laws, etc.; Public Laws and Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly at its Extra Session of...; Session Laws and Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly; Session Laws of North Carolina
  • Operations under 1929 Law. 1929.
    This document gives a statistical overview of the sterilizations performed on men and women in the name of eugenics from 1929-1933.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens’ Rights, Statistics
  • North Carolina. Biennial Report of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina. 1934-1968.
    This set of documents contains the biennial reports of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina from 1934-1968. These reports explain the activities of the board during the biennium, make arguments in favor of eugenics and give statistics regarding the activities of the board.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Late 20th Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens’ Rights
    • Significant Dates: 1934-1936, 1936-1938, 1938-1940, 1942-1944, 1944-1946, 1946-1948, 1948-1950, 1952-1954, 1954-1956, 1956-1958, 1958-1960, 1960-1962, 1962-1964, 1964-1966, 1966-1968
  • North Carolina Eugenics Board. Manual: the Eugenics Board of North Carolina. 1948-1960.
    This document is a manual distributed by the Eugenics Board to smaller governmental divisions in North Carolina. It includes a history of eugenics in North Carolina, its purpose, an explanation of the Eugenics Board, procedures on who may be chosen and how they are approved, and copies of related forms and laws.

    • Categories: Early 20th Century, Legal Rights, Laws, Health, Citizens’ Rights
    • Alternate Names: 1948, 1960.
  • Human Betterment League of North Carolina. You Wouldn't Expect…. 1950.
    This document is a pamphlet organized in the style of a children’s book. It explains the practice of eugenics in simple terms and could be used as a tool of propaganda to gain support for the cause.

    • Categories: Late 20th Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens’ Rights, Propaganda, Children
  • North Carolina State Archives. Eugenics Board of North Carolina: Cases Handled 1964-1973. 1964-1973.
    This document includes a law that helps to clarify language in a previous law regarding the Eugenics Board, showing that the North Carolina legislature was still concerned with eugenics and its administration in the mid-twentieth century.

    • Categories: Late 20th Century, Legal Rights, Laws, Health, Citizens’ Rights
    • Alternate Names: Session Laws and Resolutions Passed by the General Assembly; Session Laws 1959, Chapter 1019; S.L. 1959, C. 1019
  • North Carolina Department of Administration. Administrator [Newsletter]. 2007-2010.
    This set of documents consists of the quarterly employee newsletter for the North Carolina Department of Administration. The featured documents contain discussions of the effects of the eugenics program.

    • Categories: Early 21st Century, Legal Rights, Health, Citizens’ Rights
    • Significant Dates: March 2010 Special Edition, Fall 2010
    • Alternate Names: Administrator (N.C Department of Administration)
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