Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy

Overview

The forty-year Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s, has become a profound metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance. Susan M. Reverby's Examining Tuskegee is a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis among African American men, who were told by U.S. Public Health Service doctors that they were being treated, not just watched, for their late-stage syphilis. With rigorous clarity, ...
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Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy

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Overview

The forty-year Tuskegee Syphilis Study, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s, has become a profound metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance. Susan M. Reverby's Examining Tuskegee is a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis among African American men, who were told by U.S. Public Health Service doctors that they were being treated, not just watched, for their late-stage syphilis. With rigorous clarity, Reverby investigates the study and its aftermath from multiple perspectives and illuminates the reasons for its continued power and resonance in our collective memory.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reverby has constructed an essential historical framework of public health ethics. . . . [An] expansive yet detailed account. . . [A] magnificent contribution in examining [Tuskegee's] enduring hold on U.S. cultural life."--Health Affairs

"A vitally important contribution to the literature surrounding the study. . . . Highly recommended."--Choice

"This in-depth and comprehensive approach, by exploring the aftermath of the Tuskegee Study, distinguishes it from other writings on this topic. . . . The best presentation, thus far, of how race, medicine and research have intersected as a consequence of this convoluted Tuskegee Syphilis Study."--The Journal of the National Medical Association

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Susan M. Reverby is Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Women's Studies at Wellesley College. She is editor of Tuskegee's Truths: Rethinking the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Race, Medical Uncertainty, and American Culture 1

Pt. I Testimony

1 Historical Contingencies: Tuskegee Institute, the Public Health Service, and Syphilis 13

2 Planned, Plotted, & Official: The Study Begins 29

3 Almost Undone: The Study Continues 56

4 What Makes It Stop? 73

5 Testimony: The Public Story in the 1970s 86

Pt. II Testifying

6 What Happened to the Men & Their Families? 111

7 Why & Wherefore: The Public Health Service Doctors 135

8 Triage & "Powerful Sympathizing": Eugene H. Dibble, Jr. 152

9 The Best Care: Eunice Verdell Rivers Laurie 167

Pt. III Traveling

10 Bioethics, History, & the Study as Gospel 187

11 The Court of Imagination 204

12 The Political Spectacle of Blame & Apology 216

Epilogue: The Difficulties of Treating Racism with "Tuskegee" 227

Appendix A Chronology 241

Appendix B Key Participants' Names 249

Appendix C Men's Names 251

Appendix D Tables and Charts 257

Notes 263

Bibliography 333

Index 365

A section of illustrations appears after page 108

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