I’ve heard students say, “I’m not into reading or reading is boring.” Well, I implore reading and learning is not only a means of educating oneself, but it’s a way of protecting ourselves as a people.
This is black history, our history. I believe if people don’t study their past they will be doomed to repeat it. We should jump at the chance to learn more about our people’s culture and past.
If you are unaware of COINTELPRO or the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, then you maybe you will be enlightened after reading this article. Both were covert missions that were implemented on black people.
These programs took into affect with America’s tax money. In the early 80’s the U.S. government apologized for its illegal action in COINTELPRO. In 1997 President Bill Clinton formally apologized to black people for the government’s involvement in the 1932 to 1972 Tuskegee Syphilis experiment.
In 1932 the American Government promised 400 African American men free-treatment for “Bad Blood,” a euphemism for syphilis. In 1932 syphilis was an epidemic in Macon County, Alabama and other cities across America.
The men of the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment never received treatment. In fact treatment was withheld. The men were guinea pigs for a government sanctioned medical investigation, the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.
The study lasted four decades. No new drugs were tested, neither were any efforts made to establish the efficacy of old forms of treatment. It was a non-therapeutic experiment, aimed at compiling data on the effects of the spontaneous evolution of syphilis on black males.
The data for the experiment was collected from autopsies of the men and they were deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis. Syphilis can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity and death.
One of the doctors involved explained, “We have no further interest in these patients until they die.”
By the end of the experiment, 28 of the men had from syphilis, 100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected and 19 of their children had been born with congenital syphilis.
To persuade the community to support the experiment, one of the original doctors admitted, “it was necessary to carry on the study under the guise of a demonstration and provide treatment.”
Having students who have a desire to be aware and conscious is a problem for black students everywhere.
Jarred Morgan is a third-year business administration student from Houston. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.