...the infamous Tuskegee study discovery... The whole purpose [of the study] was to observe the effect of untreated syphilis in the Negro male. Even after penicillin became available, they still did it.

Fred Gray: I had the Justice Department working with me on a lot of these school cases and then we had bloody, when the people were beaten back over in Selma, red-letter Sunday. And they called me and I got a court order, making the state of Alabama protect them as they marched from Selma to Montgomery, and was one of the ones who went in to Governor Wallace at the end of the march and presented our grievances with reference to (indistinct). But then I found out in 1972 with all the work that the Federal Government had been doing with us, that they were involved in one of the most hideous, racial discriminatory cases of anything that had ever happened. And I’m referring to the infamous Tuskegee study discovery. A 40 year-old study that had taken place in Rapin County, right in the middle of everything that is going on, nobody really knew about it but it was not secret. But the Federal Government had finally answered. There were some 300 men who passed about 300 others who didn’t. The whole purpose was to observe the effect of untreated syphilis in the Negro male. Even after penicillin became available, they still did it. So I ended up getting, representing them, finally was able to get myself into their case and then some years later in 1977, managed to get the President to apologize on behalf of the nation to those men. And what those men said they wanted, in addition to an apology, was a permanent memorial in Tuskegee, a memorial where people could come and see what they had done. But not just for them! They wanted a permanent memorial for the various ethnic groups that had made contributions to the field of civil and human rights. Mr. Herman Shaw was the spokesman for the group and who introduced the President in the East room of the White House, announced that we had formed the Tuskegee Human Rights and Multicultural Center, which meant, fully developed, would not only acknowledge their contribution but the contribution that was made by Native Americans, Americans of European descent, and Americans of African Descent. When we came back, the Alabama Change Bank gave the Southern Arm to do a 510(c)3 corporation a building in downtown Tuskegee and we’re in the process of now making that, the County has also designated that a tourist center and converting that into a museum center to educate people, not only on what blacks have done but what whites have done and what native Americans have done in the field of human and civil rights and once it’s developed, it’s gonna be one of the leading attractions. That’s what I’m devoting most of my time to and I just happen to have brought some brochures by to leave with you to tell you about it. And we’d be happy for you to come by, we do have some exhibits on; we have one exhibit right now on the Tuskegee Center for Study, and I do have more in case that’s not enough.

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