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Survivor plans tribute to other sterilization victims

Posted July 29, 2013

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— Charles Holt's life has been full of hardships.

Institutionalized at Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner as a teen in the 1960s, state officials deemed Holt feeble-minded.

"I was just a kid that should have never been born," he said recently.

At 19, Holt was told he could leave the facility for good if he underwent a surgery. He said doctors never explained to him exactly what that surgery was or that it would leave him sterile for the rest of his life.

"It hurt me there for a while when I found out about it," he said. "Some people have picked on me, saying I ain't man enough to make a family."

Holt was among more than 7,600 people the state sterilized between 1929 and 1974 in the name of improving society. Many had mental disabilities, while others suffered from epilepsy, were juvenile delinquents or were children of alcoholics.

State lawmakers set aside $10 million in the 2013-14 budget to compensate the living victims of the eugenics program. As many as 1,800 victims may still be alive, but so far, the state's efforts to find them have yielded only 168 people.

"If anyone deserves anything, it's them – the people that didn't get the right to have children," said Holt's stepdaughter, Melissa Hyatt.

Eugenics victim Archdale man pleased NC compensating him for sterilization

Hyatt called Holt a wonderful father and said she always wondered why he didn't have children of his own until learning of his forced sterilization a year ago.

"It really bothered me that someone could do that to him," she said.

Because the compensation fund will be divided among only living victims, Holt said that he has a plan for whatever money he receives in June 2015. In addition to buying a headstone for himself, he wants to do something for the victims who didn't live to be compensated.

"(We should) make a headstone for the other people who have deceased and put their names on it," he said. "I'm willing to put some money on that if they can get some other people to chip in some money on it."

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  • boatrokr Jul 30, 2013

    Rebelyell, these survivors don't think it provided a "better life for them." They never had the chance to decide that for themselves, either.

    By the way, it's "would have" and "could have" not would of or should of.

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 29, 2013

    As for a tribute it seems to be sure this is not forgotten. You never know when this idea may rear it's head again.

    AliceBToklas
    July 29, 2013 4:42 p.m........First off, I'm not singling out you comment for reponse, since it can apply to others. This was in the new for several years now, and there were several links to how, why and what this was about and what the intent of some good folks were. At that time it was not meant to be "unspeakable evil" or to cause suffering. But was to provide a better life for them. Hard to believe but many, many years ago, or social service or child welfare were not as advance as they are now. Many cases that would of land parent in jail didn't happen back then, instead this plan was put in place. The people who made these decison truely believe they were making life better for them, and aren't even alive today. But, in many cases, it did make life better for some.

  • boatrokr Jul 29, 2013

    I deal with the pain of infertility on a daily basis. For someone to do this to another human on purpose is unspeakably evil. These survivors DO deserve compensation of SOME sort for their suffering and their lifelong grief. To all of you - I am so, so, sorry.

  • AliceBToklas Jul 29, 2013

    Enough of blaming one party or the other. What our government did was wrong. Period. Some for of compensation seems appropriate. As for a tribute it seems to be sure this is not forgotten. You never know when this idea may rear it's head again.

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 29, 2013

    Democrats took these people's dignity away from them and now somehow want to blame republicans for it today.

    arfamr1008
    July 29, 2013 3:50 p.m.......Hate to bust your bubble, but the "Democrates" that did this would acutally be "Repbublicans" by today's standards. If ya didn't know this went on not only in the US in other states , world wide in developed nations.

  • Rebelyell55 Jul 29, 2013

    I sure hope that didn't read right, divided up with the living. I think the intent was only 50,000 dollars per, which is way too much. Sadly the rest or bulk of the money will be wasted on administration of the funds. Now that NC is the only state to do anything, wonder what all the other states that did this will do?

  • arfamr1008 Jul 29, 2013

    Democrats took these people's dignity away from them and now somehow want to blame republicans for it today.

  • arfamr1008 Jul 29, 2013

    This was a dispicible act that democrats performed on these people. I still fail to see why these same people would support a democrat for any office.