Readings & Signings

Melton McLaurin and Anne Russell

When: Sat., Feb. 16, 11 a.m. 2013

Another dark side of North Carolina's history is told in Melton McLaurin and Anne Russell's new book, Wayward Girls of Samarcand. The grim 1931 ordeal involved 16 adolescent girls who were charged with setting two fires at Samarcand, a reform facility located in Pinehurst. The girls — from low-income homes who had committed petty crimes or were deemed too sexually active for their time — were later defended by the Raleigh News & Observer's Nell Battle Lewis, who exposed the physical and emotional abuse they'd experienced at the hands of the school's officials. The story takes a turn with found documentation that reveals that the girls all later developed "appendicitis" and underwent surgeries while in prison — or as the authors speculate, were victims of North Carolina's eugenics program of involuntary sterilization. McLaurin and Russell will discuss and sign copies of the book at Park Road Books.

Anita Overcash

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