"The Tuskegee Study has emerged as the most prominent example of medical racism...the study has moved from being a singular historical event to a powerful metaphor. It has come to symbolize racism in medicine, misconduct in human research, the arrogance of physicians, and government abuse of black people."- Dr. Vanessa Gamble
     In the 1920’s, many nations began to conduct research experiments on humans. Perhaps the most consequential experiment was the Syphilis Study in Macon County, Alabama, which lasted from 1932 to 1972. The high rate of syphilis in the "Jim Crow" south led to the selection of 600 African-Americans for the experiment. This experiment involved withholding treatment from a controlled group of participants. The unethical project continued, but the availability of penicillin, the emergence of the Nuremberg Codes, and the Declaration of Helsinki swayed the ideals of morality in the minds of medical peers and eventually led to a debate regarding the laws of human experimentation. The Belmont Report of 1979, published by the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, successfully created guidelines for the protection of humans in experiments.

Peter Hamel, Lily Meyer, and Jack Duffy
Senior Division