Between 1932 and 1972, approximately six hundred African American
men in Alabama served as unwitting guinea pigs in what is now
considered one of the worst examples of arrogance, racism, and
duplicity in American medical research--the Tuskegee syphilis
study. Told they were being treated for "bad blood," the nearly
four hundred men with late-stage syphilis and two hundred
disease-free men who served as controls were kept away from
appropriate treatment and plied instead with placebos, nursing
visits, and the promise of decent burials. Despite the publication
of more than a dozen reports in respected medical and public health
journals, the study continued for forty years, until extensive
media coverage finally brought the experiment to wider public
knowledge and forced its end.
This edited volume gathers articles, contemporary newspaper
accounts, selections from reports and letters, reconsiderations of
the study by many of its principal actors, and works of fiction,
drama, and poetry to tell the Tuskegee story as never before.
Together, these pieces illuminate the ethical issues at play from a
remarkable breadth of perspectives and offer an unparalleled look
at how the study has been understood over time.