The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Using Human Beings as Laboratory Animals

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Using Human Beings as Laboratory Animals
The true nature of the experiment had to be kept from the subjects to ensure their cooperation. With Share croppers being both poor and non-educated, they were easily manipulated. Most could not afford medical care, so the thought of receiving it free, led to many signing up to participate.

The study was meant to discover how syphilis affected blacks as opposed to whites —the theory being that whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis, whereas blacks were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage. How this knowledge would have changed clinical treatment of syphilis is uncertain.

When the experiment was brought to the attention of the media in 1972, news anchor Harry Reasoned described it as an experiment that “used human beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone.”

1. In the first paragraph the author adds the detail “illiterate sharecropper.” What is the significance of this detail?
a. So the audience can understand a possible reason these men were easily lied too
b. So the audience can understand the education level of sharecroppers in Alabama
c. To inform the Audience how they were treated for “bad blood”
d. To inform the audience that the sharecroppers were from one of the poorest counties in Alabama

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