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1/27/2018The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks1/2University of MarylandSearchTuskegee Institute"The United States government did something that was wrong—deeply, profoundly, morally wrong. It was an outrage toour commitment to integrity and equality for all our citizens. . . .clearly racist."—President Clinton's apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to the eight remaining survivors, May 16, 1997For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men inthe late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties inAlabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treatedfor “bad blood,” their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to becollected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctorsinvolved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.”HistoryLewis Adams, a former slave and successful tradesman, was the founding force behind the establishment of a school atTuskegee. He made a deal to deliver AfricanAmerican voters in the 1880 election. In return, the Alabama legislature passeda bill to "establish a Normal School for colored teachers at Tuskegee."