Contribute Try STAT+ Today

TUSKEGEE, Ala. — Decades later, it’s still hard to grasp what the federal government did to hundreds of black men in rural Alabama — even if you’re among their descendants, lighting candles in their memory.

For 40 years starting in 1932, medical workers in the segregated South withheld treatment for unsuspecting men infected with a sexually transmitted disease simply so doctors could track the ravages of the horrid illness and dissect their bodies afterward.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


What is it?

STAT+ is STAT's premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond.

What's included?

  • Daily reporting and analysis
  • The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters
  • Subscriber-only newsletters
  • Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day
  • STAT+ Conversations
  • Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations
  • Exclusive industry events
  • Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country
  • The best reporters in the industry
  • The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry
  • And much more
  • Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr.
  • For all of you trying to find out if you have money or benefits coming, contact the office of attorney Fred Gray, who is handling all of these matters. His office is in Tuskegee. Please don’t contact me. I have no idea how the distribution of funds works. But love to you all.

    Second thought. Please do not let this horrible piece of black history keep you from seeing a doctor regularly. If you don’t trust white doctors, I certainly understand. But there are tens of thousands of wonderful black doctors in the United States.

    For those who have wondered, I mentioned earlier that I am the reporter who broke the story, and some have asked about my ethnicity. I am white. It made no difference to me. This was an atrocity committed against my fellow human beings. It had to be called into account.

  • I want to know how my father can receive his father’s share. And what medical benefits do the children receive.

  • Since I was the AP reporter who broke the story, I sort of wish you’d contacted me before this was published. I could have added some color from interviews over the years with survivors of the study. In any event, I’m delighted you did the story. This a grim chapter in American history that should never be forgotten.

  • My mother is 91 and was diagnosed with syphilis about nine months ago. My father has been deceased for 22 years and she has not been in any type of relationship at all, no nursing home, and has always went to her doctor visits for as long as I can remember and I am 60 years of age. I just don’t understand how this could happen. Any help would be appreciated.

  • My mother was the daughter of one of the controlled participants in this study and was not aware of any lawsuit or settlement like Corine Merritt. Do you know who we should follow up with this matter? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • This is humiliating to the Black race. This gives me another reason for not trusting white doctors.

  • My grandfather Lavader James was said, my mother to have been apart of that experiment. My grandmother died three days after my mothers birth from exposure to the experiment. I was unaware of the lawsuit and my family should have been apart of it. Is there anything that we can do it this point? Feel free to contact me via my email. Thanks

  • I hope this is accurate, as I am using some of this information for a research report– the lack of proofreading makes me think otherwise.

Comments are closed.