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Can someone tell me briefly what the Tuskegee incident was?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I assume that you are talking about the syphilis experiments that were conducted in Alabama from 1932 to 1972.

It is hard to imagine that this actually happened in the United States, and even during the beginning of my life, but this involved doctors who intentionally took black men who had syphilis and did not treat them.  The point of this was to see what would happen as the disease progressed.

So what they were doing was using these black men as lab rats and denying them treatment that could have cured their disease.

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mkcapen1 | Student

The incident that you are talking about is the "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male."  The government had decided to see what would happen if they studied about 600 African American males with syphilis who were not being treated for it.  They were refused help to treat the disease and when they complained of heath problems they were denied care for them.

Since syphilis is transmitted sexually as well as through sores, the affects of the disease were also passed onto family members with devastating outcomes.  It was a horrid and unethical series of scientific tests that caused harm to an innocent and unsuspecting population of people who had no choice but to allow the government to use them.

The study began in 1932 and ended in 1972.  The men involved won a class action lawsuit, but the damage to their and their family’s health was done.