Advanced English 10
January 8, 2016
Murder in Texas
Most people think lynchings and brutal murders based on race are a relic of the past. Unfortunately, they would be wrong. Forty years after the start of the Civil Rights Movement, this was proven with the murder of a black man in Texas. James Byrd, Jr. was an innocent man walking home late one night. He had committed no crime, but three white men saw him as being guilty of something. These men picked Byrd up and viciously beat him solely because of the color of his skin. After they beat him, they showed an utter lack of respect for his humanity by urinating on him and then they tied his limp body to the back of their pickup truck. Byrd was dragged over three miles and the remains of his body were scattered all over the county by the white men. After disseminating pieces of Byrd in front of the community church, the men nonchalantly attended a barbeque and socialized with friends. Although Jim Crow is in the past, racism is still present in America as can be seen in the murder of James Byrd Jr in 1998.
Thesis: While research on syphilis in the 1930’s provided valuable data, the cost to the black men involved in the study was too high and was unethical due to their lack of treatment and consent.
Body paragraph 1:
Men were targeted for the Tuskegee syphilis study because of the color of their skin and their socioeconomic status. Black men who had syphilis in the 1900’s were convinced they were signing up for treatment for the disease, but in actuality were research subjects. As research subjects, the men had treatment of the disease withheld. This would not have happened to white men, but because of the erroneous but prevalent beliefs at the time, no one objected to the mistreatment of black men. At the time it was thought that “blacks were permanently trapped on the lower rungs of the evolutionary ladder” (Jefferson, xi). While this attitude is unfathomable to Americans today, it caused these men to be subjected to lack of treatment. The health care offered was a ruse to get them to sign up for the study. Once signed up for the study, the men were not informed that pain medication would be withheld. Penicillin was known to treat syphilis at the time, but these men had to suffer without it. This was racism under the guise of science and research.
Author’s last name, First name. “Title.” Title of website. Name of organization affiliated with
website. Date published or edited. Medium of publication. Date viewed.
Antonucci, Mike. “The Tuskegee Project.” SIRS. San Jose Mercury News. Knight-Ridder
Newspapers. July 15, 2001. Web. Viewed January 12, 2016.
Benedek, T.G. “The ‘Tuskegee Study’of syphilis: analysis of moral versus methodologic
aspects.” PubMed.gov. January 31, 1978. Web. Viewed January 12, 2016.
Jefferson, Alexander with Lewis, Carlson. Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: The Memoirs of a
Tuskegee Airman and POW. New York: Fordham University Press. 2005.
“Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation,
Inc. n.d. Web. Viewed January 12, 2016.