Letters to the Editor: Stop calling it the ‘Tuskegee study.’ That’s unfair to the Black victims

A nurse administers a shot to a woman as a coworker of the nurse looks on.
Nurse Marianne Williams administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a woman at the county health department in Tuskegee, Ala., on Jan. 25.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As the niece of a valiant Tuskegee airman and the daughter of a Tuskegee serviceman, I wholeheartedly agree with Lillie Head, whose father was a victim of the medical maltreatment and deception performed against Black men in Tuskegee, Ala. (“Decades later, infamous Tuskegee syphilis study stirs wariness in Black community over COVID-19 vaccine,” Feb. 5)

Head states that the event should be referred to as the “United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study,” rather than the “Tuskegee Study.”

The name by which the experiment has been known implies that the residents of Tuskegee — the Black residents — are somehow to blame for the crime that was committed there. This has always felt wrong to me.


Tuskegee, with all of its connections to Black history, is a source of pride for Black families. Why should the city be branded by this despicable experiment? It is the U.S. government that committed the crime, and that needs to be made crystal clear to all Americans.

Marguerita Drew, Glendale