tuskegee syphilis study

Doctor injects test subject with placebo as part of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, c. 1972.

“The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama in which 399 poor–and mostly illiterate–African American sharecroppers were denied treatment for syphilis. The individuals who enrolled in the study did not give informed consent and were not informed of their diagnosis; instead they were told they had “bad blood” and could receive free medical treatment in return for participating. For many participants, treatment was intentionally denied.

Photo credit: National Archives and Records Administration