"Bad Girls," Eugenics And Samarcand Manor

Jul 22, 2016

More than 2,000 women and girls were forcibly sterilized in the first two decades of North Carolina's state eugenics program from 1929-1950.

While many governmental institutions and scientists propelled the movement forward, the new book "Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory" (LSUP/2016) traces the story of one reformatory's unexpected role in the process.

The State Home and Industrial School in Eagle Springs, N.C. was initially created to house poor white girls suspected of 'deviant behavior.' In 1931, an arson case brought it into the national spotlight, and it eventually became a site of frequent forced sterilizations for girls as young as 10 years old.

Host Frank Stasio talks with historian Karin L. Zipf, history professor at East Carolina University, about her research into the "bad girls" at the center of this story.