Delaware forcibly sterilized her mother. She’s now ready to share the state’s dark secret.

In August of 1930, Ethel Benson was institutionalized into the Delaware Colony for the Feeble Minded and never returned home.

She was about 20 years old, Black and illiterate. Her great sin, in the eyes of Delaware, was that she was an unmarried woman who gave birth to two children – both fathered by different white men.

The label of “procreative menace” was often slapped on women like Ethel.

While institutionalized, she underwent a procedure to correct these supposed emotional defects. A doctor, with one of Delaware’s most prominent last names, made an incision into Ethel’s abdomen. He removed both of her fallopian tubes. He also cut out her clitoris.

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