I am sorry that I am unable to be with you on this important
In 1924, Virginia, like many states, passed a law permitting
involuntary sterilization. In 1927, Carrie Buck was the first
person sterilized by the Commonwealth pursuant to that law. Virginia's
actions were upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States,
and the government ultimately sterilized approximately 8,000 people.
Last year, the General Assembly passed a resolution expressing
profound regret for the Commonwealth's role in the eugenics movement.
Today, I offer the Commonwealth's sincere apology for Virginia's
participation in eugenics. As I have previously noted, the eugenics
movement was a shameful effort in which state government never
should have been involved.
We must remember the Commonwealth's past mistakes in order
to prevent them from recurring. This highway marker will serve
as a constant reminder of how our government failed its citizens
and how we must always strive to do better.