Photos: Clinical Racism in The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Historically, African-Americans, Native Americans and other minorities have been excluded from clinical trials that seek to uncover risk factors for disease and offer life-saving new treatments. The infamous federally funded Tuskegee syphilis experiment—shut down in 1972—denied treatment to hundreds of African-American men suffering from the disease.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was conducted by government-funded researchers from the Tuskegee Institute between 1932 and 1972 in Macon County, Alabama to examine the progression of syphilis in poor African-American men. When penicillin was discovered as an effective medication for the disease in 1947, researchers refused to administer it, choosing instead to continue the study. In 1972, journalist Jean Heller broke the story and an enraged public forced the researchers to put an end to the study. Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and in 1973, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the study participants. In 1974, a $10 million settlement was reached, and all living participants were promised lifetime medical benefits by the U.S. government.

10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_02
Researchers from the Tuskegee Institute conducted the study between 1932 and 1972 in Macon County, Alabama. The region was known as the “Black Belt” in reference to the high number of African-American sharecroppers who were the economic engine of the region.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_03
Formally named the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” the infamous study came under heavy criticism for unethical conduct once it was publicized.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_04
Told they were getting free health care, many participants in the study lived unknowingly with syphilis.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_05
About 600 men enrolled in the study and were paid with meals, treatment for minor ailments and guarantees of a burial stipend for their survivors.The National Archives
About 600 men enrolled in the study and were paid with meals, treatment for minor ailments and guarantees of a burial stipend for their survivors.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_06
In 1947, penicillin was discovered to be an effective medication for syphilis, but those running the Tuskegee study refused to administer the treatment, choosing instead to continue the study monitoring the effects of the disease.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_07
A researcher collects a blood sample during the Tuskegee study. On July 25, 1972, journalist Jean Heller broke the story and an enraged public forced the 40-year study to end.The National Archives
10_30_MinorityTesting_SS_08
Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and new policies were enacted. The U.S. paid $10 million in a class-action lawsuit to study participants and their descendants.The National Archives
Social Streams

Comments

comments

Facebook Comments

Post a comment