In honor of St. Philip’s Church’s 200th Anniversary, you’re invited to attend its Women’s Day Celebration as they present Harriet Washington and her book Medical Apartheid to the Harlem community. Ms. Washington will be discussing minority health issues, the need for participation in properly conducted therapeutic research, and the need for health care reform.
Date: May 17th, 2009
Time: 10:00 am
Location: St. Philip’s Church,Â 204 West 134th Street (Btwn.Â Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Blvds., 212-862-4940.
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present — From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.
Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge-a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. Moving into the twentieth century, it shows how the pseudoscience of eugenics and social Darwinism was used to justify experimental exploitation and shoddy medical treatment of blacks, and the view that they were biologically inferior, oversexed, and unfit for adult responsibilities. Shocking new details about the government’s notorious Tuskegee experiment are revealed, as are similar, less-well-known medical atrocities conducted by the government, the armed forces, prisons, and private institutions.
The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit. At last, it provides the fullest possible context for comprehending the behavioral fallout that has caused black Americans to view researchers-and indeed the whole medical establishment-with such deep distrust. No one concerned with issues of public health and racial justice can afford not to read Medical Apartheid, a masterful book that will stir up both controversy and long-needed debate.
From Publishers Weekly — This groundbreaking study documents that the infamous Tuskegee experiments, in which black syphilitic men were studied but not treated, was simply the most publicized in a long, and continuing, history of the American medical establishment using African-Americans as unwitting or unwilling human guinea pigs. Washington, a journalist and bioethicist who has worked at Harvard Medical School and Tuskegee University, has accumulated a wealth of documentation, beginning with Thomas Jefferson exposing hundreds of slaves to an untried smallpox vaccine before using it on whites, to the 1990s, when the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University ran drug experiments on African-American and black Dominican boys to determine a genetic predisposition for “disruptive behavior.” Washington is a great storyteller, and in addition to giving us an abundance of information on “scientific racism,” the book, even at its most distressing, is compulsively readable. It covers a wide range of topics-the history of hospitals not charging black patients so that, after death, their bodies could be used for anatomy classes; the exhaustive research done on black prisoners throughout the 20th century-and paints a powerful and disturbing portrait of medicine, race, sex and the abuse of power.