Thursday, January 27, 2005

Tuskegee

This town, a small one of about 12,000 souls in Macon County Alabama, has been the site of three remarkable events in world history. Starting in 1932, the Tuskegee syphilis study followed 399 black men infected with syphilis and 200 who were not infected. The men recieved various treatments including placebos. Many of the participants were denied treatment and lied to so that investigators could follow the progress of the disease. By 1972--when the experiment was halted due to public outcry--only 72 of the test subjects remained alive.

In 1941 the 99th Fighter Squadron was formed, the first U.S. Army Air Corps unit to accept African Americans. The 99th--and later the 322nd Fighter Group--went on to serve with distinction in North Africa.

In 1955 Rosa Parks, a native of Tuskegee, boarded a bus in Montgomery and refused to move to the back as instructed by the White driver. She was arrested; Martin Luther King jr. came to her support and unrest over segregation grew.

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