Rock Center with Brian Williams - Victims speak out about North Carolina sterilization program, which targeted women, young girls and blacks Eugenics was a scientific theory that grew in popularity during the 1920s. Eugenicists believed that poverty, promiscuity and alcoholism were traits that were inherited. To eliminate those society ills and improve society’s gene pool, proponents of the theory argued that those that exhibited the traits should be sterilized. Some of America’s wealthiest businessmen of the time were eugenicists including Dr. Clarence Gamble of Proctor and Gamble and James Hanes of the hosiery fortune. Hanes helped found the Human Betterment League which promoted the cause of eugenicists.