by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Janice Black, 59 years old, believes that her stepmother had her sterilized because she had learning disabilities. Black’s stepmother treated her poorly after the death of her father. Black says that her stepmother pulled her out of her Charlotte, North Carolina, school in the 1970’s where she was enrolled in special needs classes in order to have her stay at home and care for her stepsister’s five kids. Black recalls her stepmother telling her that education meant nothing for her. Black also remembers the day her stepmother took her to the doctor at the age of 14 or 15 to be sterilized.
Now, Black lives with a friend she’s known since childhood, Sadie Long, who is now her legal guardian. Long says she saw a long scar on Black’s stomach and asked her what happened. Black replied to her saying, “Didn’t I tell you? That old biddy had me fixed.” Not long after this, Long saw a program on television discussing the Eugenics Task Force. The latter is a new organization handling cases from victims of a sterilization program only ended by North Carolina in 1977. One of the goals of the sterilization program was to prevent the mentally disabled from having children. Long then realized that this was likely related to what her friend had suffered.
According to reports from WCNC News, “Long has inquired with the task force on Black’s behalf, and will fill out paperwork to determine if her friend was sterilized through the program.”
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.