Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy

Overview

"The forty-year "Tuskegee" Syphilis Study has become the American metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance. The subject of histories, films, rumors, and political slogans, it provoked an official federal apology from President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony." Susan M. Reverby offers a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s. The study involved hundreds of African American men, most of whom ...

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Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy

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Overview

"The forty-year "Tuskegee" Syphilis Study has become the American metaphor for medical racism, government malfeasance, and physician arrogance. The subject of histories, films, rumors, and political slogans, it provoked an official federal apology from President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony." Susan M. Reverby offers a comprehensive analysis of the notorious study of untreated syphilis, which took place in and around Tuskegee, Alabama, from the 1930s through the 1970s. The study involved hundreds of African American men, most of whom were told by doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service that they were being treated, not just watched, for their late-stage syphilis. Reverby examines the study and its aftermath from multiple perspectives to explain what happened and why the study has such power in our collective memory. She follows the study's repercussions in facts and fictions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Strenuously researched and duly accessible.—African American Review
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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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