The Tuskegee Syphilis study was one of the most notorious biomedical experiments in U.S. history. In 1972, forty years ago, Jean Heller of the Washington Evening Star wrote in front page news “Syphilis Patients Died Untreated” making the forty-year experiment public knowledge and bringing shame to public health for the conspiracy.
600 poor black male sharecroppers, 399 with syphilis and 201 without from Macon County, Alabama were enrolled between 1932 and 1972, but never diagnosed or treated. The victims’ families had never been given an official U.S. apology – until Former President Clinton issued a public government apology first in May, 1997, 15 years ago.
Those with syphilis were never diagnosed and never treated. An official penicillin cure was established by 1947, but none of the men were given the anticdote. Those that asked for it were given placebos. The men were told they had “bad blood” which might include syphilis, anemia and fatigue. For agreeing to participate in the study, the men were given free medical exams, free meals and free burial insurance but autopsies were required. Most of them wouldn’t be alive to enjoy the incentives.
The men suffered from tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness and insanity before passing away. By the time the experiment was exposed and extinguished, hundreds of black men had died, dozens of wives were infected and had given birth to babies born with the disease. Once the NAACP filed a class-action lawsuit, the remaining relatives were given a $10 million settlement to split, healthcare and treatment for syphilis. Only 74 of the men survived the experiment.
A meeting was held last March in Washington by a Presidential bioethics commission to discussion the issue of human medical testing, which has been a practice involving poor blacks, prisoners and mental patients for decades. When the U.S. banned testing in the 1970’s, the government moved to foreign countries like Uganda for testing of the AIDS virus. The Obama Administration charged the bioethics commission with focusing on federally funded international studies, and to form groups to investigate the most recent human medical experiments done overseas.
In Former President Clinton’s apology he said, “The United States Government did something that was wrong, deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage to our commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. We can end the silence. We can stop turning our heads away. We can look at you in the eye and finally say on behalf of the American people what the United States Government did was shameful, and I am sorry…The people who ran the study at Tuskegee diminished the stature of man by abandoning the most basic ethical precepts. They forget their pledge to heal and repair. They had the power to heal the survivors and all the others and they did not. Mr. Shaw, the others who are here, the family members who are with us in Tuskegee, only you have the power to forgive. Your presence here shows us that you have chosen a better path than your government did so long ago.”
According to the CDC, 15 descendants of the study’s survivors are still receiving their benefits.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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