Fred Gray: “The Tuskegee Syphilis Study: How It Happened, How Justice Was Served, and Why This Matters”

Posted by | April 23, 2014 | Event Spotlight | No Comments
Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Noted civil rights attorney and activist Fred D. Gray will speak about the Tuskegee Syphilis Study on April 23 at 7 p.m. in the Hodson Auditorium, Rosenstock Hall, at Hood College. The medical experiment “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” was conducted between 1932-72 by the U.S. Public Health Service using poor rural African American men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government. The study is infamous for its lack of ethical standards, such as withholding penicillin from its subjects for decades after this drug was discovered in the 1940s and became standard treatment for syphilis.

Gray came into prominence as a civil rights lawyer during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 where he worked with Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and E.D. Nixon. He represented the Tuskegee Syphilis Study participants in a victorious lawsuit against the government in 1973 and in 1997 helped procure President Bill Clinton’s formal apology for the U.S. government’s role in this terrible injustice. Part of the legacy of his lawsuit was the establishment of the government’s Office for Human Research Protections and the federal laws and regulations requiring Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) to operate nationwide in order to protect the interests of human subjects.

Following Gray’s keynote speech, there will be a book signing for his two publications: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study and Bus Ride to Justice: The Life and Works of Fred D. Gray.

This event is sponsored by the Robert D. and Barbara E. Hanson Fund of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, the Frederick County Bank, and Hood College’s Office of the Provost and Council for the Humanities.

For more information, please contact Dr. Martha Bari, bari@hood.edu or 301-717-9554.