|1891 - 1910||Caesar Boeck hospitalized approximately 2000 white patients with primary and secondary syphilis until lesions heal without treatment in Oslo, Norway.|
|1925 - 1927||His deputy E. Bruusgaard attempts follow-up beginning in 1925. The results become known as the Oslo Study.|
|November 1929||The Rosenwald Fund votes to spend up to $50,000 from January through December of 1930 for syphilis control demonstration programs. The Public Health Service (PHS) recommends six locations for the program: Macon County, Alabama; Scott County, Mississippi; Tipton County, Tennessee; Glynn County, Georgia; Pitt County, North Carolina; Albemarle County, Virginia.|
|February 1930 —
|The Rosenwald Fund syphilis control program in progress in Macon County, Alabama. 39.8% are presumed to test positive for syphilis. 1400 men, women, and children are treated; 3684 are tested.|
|May 1930||Dr. H. L. Harris, Jr. makes a site visit for the Rosenwald Fund to Macon County.|
|Fall 1930||Harris visits the Macon County site again, questions the procedures, and recommends a comprehensive health plan be implemented. It is not because the Rosenwald Fund cannot afford to continue the project nor can expand it beyond September 1931.|
|1931 — 1937||Nine young black men are falsely accused of raping two white women and are arrested, tried and jailed near Scottsboro, Alabama.|
|1931 — 1932||Black Sharecroppers Union is organized and has shoot-outs with sheriffs in Talladega and Tallapoosa counties, near Tuskegee. The black wounded are brought to hospital at the Tuskegee Institute.|
|September 1932||The PHS proposes to study untreated late latent syphilis in Macon County. Tuskegee Institute officials and the local and state health departments agree to the Study. Nurse Eunice Rivers is appointed to the Study as a liaison to the men.|
|October 1932||The PHS study of untreated late latent syphilis begins in Macon County. The projected length of the study is 6-8 months and is supposed to include black men at least 25 years old who receive positive blood tests, have syphilis for at least five years (determined by onset of chancres), and who have not been treated. Not all the Study subjects meet this criterion. Subjects are then administered less than the recommended amount of therapy. Both men and women are being treated although men's names are selected for the Study.|
|May 1933||The Study’s men are subjected to spinal taps to diagnose neurological syphilis.|
|June 1933||Dr. Taliaferro Clark retires from the PHS; Dr. Raymond A. Vonderlehr succeeds him as head of the venereal disease division and continues the Study. Autopsies are added to the Study. Men are now given aspirin, protiodide, and iron tonics.|
|August 1933||28% of those tested are found to be positive for syphilis.|
|September 1933 —
|PHS begins selecting a group of men as controls for the Study.|
|May 1934||The Milbank Memorial Fund gives $50 burial stipends to families of subjects and controls consenting to autopsies.|
|1936||The first report of the Study is published: R.A. Vonderlehr et. al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: A Comparative Study of Treated and Untreated Cases."|
|1937||Bad Blood wagon, funded by the Rosenwald Fund and staffed by the PHS, returns to Macon County to begin treatment program. Men from the Study are supposed to be kept from treatment.|
|1941||Draft for World War II threatens to undermine the Study
since draftees (aged 18-45) are tested and treated if necessary for syphilis.
Macon County draft board is asked and agrees to not draft men in the Study.
The Tuskegee Airmen program to train the first black military fighter pilots begins in Tuskegee at Moton Field. These men are not in the Study, although the program is called "the Tuskegee Experiment."
|1943||The PHS’s John Mahoney and his colleagues report that penicillin is highly effective in killing the spirochetes in those with early syphilis. The PHS begins administering penicillin to people with early syphilis in several US treatment centers.|
|1946||The second and third reports of the Study are published: John R. Heller et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: Mortality During 12 Years of Observation" and Austin V. Deibert et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: III. Evidence of Cardiovascular Abnormalities and Other Forms of Morbidity."|
|1948||The Nuremburg Code promulgates principle that "the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential."|
|1950||The fourth report on the Study is published: Pasquale J. Pesare et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: Observation of Abnormalities Over Sixteen Years."|
|1951||The PHS reviews the Study procedures and recommends changes.|
|1952||The Study’s files are re-organized, autopsy reports are transferred to punch cards, and a single set of diagnostic standards for syphilis and syphilitic heart disease are adopted.|
|1953||The fifth report on the Study is published:
Eunice Rivers et al. "Twenty Years of Follow-Up Experience in a Long-Range Medical Study."
|1954||The sixth and seventh reports on the Study are published:
James K. Shafer et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: A
Prospective Study of the Effect on Life Expectancy" and Sidney Olansky
et al., "Environmental Factors in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated
Syphilis." This is the first time it is referred to as the Tuskegee
Study in an article title.
Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision bans segregation in public schools.
|1955||The eighth and ninth reports on the Study are published:
Jesse Jerome Peters et al., "Untreated syphilis in the Male
Negro: Pathologic Findings in Syphilitic and Nonsyphilitic Patients" and
Stanley H. Schuman et al.,
"Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: Background and Current
Status of Patients in the Tuskegee Study."
Bus boycott in Montgomery 40 miles from Tuskegee, Alabama after Rosa Parks, a Tuskegee-born activist, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.
Trygve Gjestland publishes last follow-up on the Oslo Study, The Oslo Study of Untreated Syphilis.
Count Gibson writes to Sidney Olansky to question the ethics of the Study.
|1956||The tenth and eleventh reports on the Study are published: Sidney Olansky et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: X. Twenty Years of Clinical Observation of Untreated Syphilitic and Presumably Nonsyphilitic Groups" and Sidney Olansky et al., "Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro: Twenty-two Years of Serological Observation in a Selected Syphilis Study Group."|
|1957||The PHS distributes certificates of appreciation and cash payments of $25 to the subjects and controls for their "service."|
|1958||Eunice Rivers Laurie wins the Third Annual Oveta Culp Hobby Award, the highest commendation the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) can bestow on an employee.|
|Early 1960's||PHS begins a regular distribution of small cash payments of $1-2 per subject to induce cooperation.|
|1960||Gomillion v. Lightfoot in the US Supreme Court outlaws gerrymandering to change borders as a means to disenfranchise citizens. The Tuskegee Civic Association brings the case to court.|
|1961||The twelfth report on the Study is published: Donald H. Rockwell et al., "The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis: The 30th Year of Observation."|
|1962||Food and Drug Act Amendments order doctors to inform patients when they are being given drugs experimentally.|
|August 1963||March on Washington draws thousands to denounce segregation and racism.|
|1964||World Health Organization issues the Declaration of Helsinki, which contains stringent provisions regarding informed consent in research.|
|January 1964||24th Amendment to the U.S. constitution abolishes poll taxes.|
|July 1964||President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin and religion.|
|1965||Malcolm X is murdered.
Congress passes the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making voting restrictions often used in the South illegal, after march in Selma, Alabama and the killing of two civil rights workers.
Meeting held on the Study at CDC and concludes: "racial issue was mentioned briefly. Will not affect the study."
Irwin Schatz writes to Donald H. Rockwell to question the Study’s ethics. Peter Buxtun begins to make inquires about the Study.
|1966||Surgeon General issues Policy and Procedure Order No.
129 establishing guidelines for, among other things, peer review for
publicly funded research (revised in 1969 and 1971).
Henry Beecher publishes an article in the New England Journal of Medicine exposing various unethical medical studies and experiments.
Sammy Younge, Jr., a black civil rights worker and Tuskegee student, is shot and killed in Tuskegee for refusing to use a toilet for blacks in the bus station.
|1968||Martin Luther King, Jr. is murdered. Rioting breaks out across the country.
President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Right Act of 1968, outlawing discrimination in housing sales and financing.
|1969||The CDC convenes a panel of physicians to reconsider
the Study. The panel recommends continuation. One panelist
objects to the decision.
The CDC tries to gain more support for the Study by visiting the Alabama
State Board of Health and the Macon County Medical Society. Elizabeth Kennebrew
is added to the Study as the new nurse to assist the aging Eunice Rivers
Bill Jenkins and others at DRUM raise objections to the Study.
|1970||The Assistant Chief of the VD Branch of the PHS says the Study is incongruous with the goals of PHS and is bad science, but he opposes ending it.|
|1972||Peter Buxtun tells an Associated Press reporter about the Study.|
|July 25, 1972||The Associated Press sends the story about the Study to major newspapers.|
|August 1972||After a public outcry, the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now DHSS) appoints an Ad Hoc Panel to review the Study.|
|1973||The thirteenth and last report on the Study is published: Joseph G. Caldwell et al. "Aortic Regurgitation in the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis."|
|March 1973||The DHEW halts the Study by authorizing treatment after members of the federal investigating panel and Senator Ted Kennedy object that the Study is still ongoing.|
|February - March
|Kennedy holds hearings on human experimentation before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee of Labor and Public Welfare, U.S. Senate. New HEW guidelines are established regarding research projects involving human subjects.|
|April 1973||The CDC offers to find subjects, treat them, and pay for their medical care, but does not have the authorization to offer the Study’s participants compensation.|
|July 23, 1973||Civil rights attorney Fred D. Gray files a $1.8 billion class action lawsuit against the US, DHEW, PHS, CDC, the State of Alabama, the State Board of Health of Alabama, the Milbank Fund and individual physicians connected with the Study.|
|December 1974||A settlement is reached and the government agrees to pay approximately $10 million. Each living syphilis subject receives $37,500, the heirs of each deceased subject with syphilis are awarded $15,000, each living control is granted $16,000, and each deceased control is rewarded $5,000: 6,000 people will receive some compensation.|
|1974||Congress passes the National Research Act and sets up the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and charges them to create regulations for human research subjects.|
|1975||The United States government extends treatment to the subjects’ wives who may have contracted syphilis from their husbands during the Study’s beginning years and to their infected children.|
|1978||Allan Brandt’s article “Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment” is published.|
|1979||The National Commission releases the Belmont Report. The report creates guidelines for the ethical treatment of research subjects and sets out principles of respect for persons, beneficence and justice.|
|1981||James H. Jones’ book on the Study, Bad Blood ,
First cases of what will come to be called the HIV/AIDS epidemic are identified.
|1992||David Feldshuh writes the play Miss
Evers' Boys, a fictionalized
account of the Study that has a fictionalized nurse as its central character.
ABC's PrimeTime special on the Study airs on television.
|1993||PBS’s Nova film on the Study, Deadly Deception, airs on television.|
|1994 - 1995||Henry W. Foster, Jr. is nominated to the position of Surgeon General. Questions about the Study affect the nomination process and it is tabled forever in the U.S. Senate.|
|1995||Federal benefits program expands to health, not just medical benefits for survivors, and wives and children who tested positive for syphilis.|
|1996||The last payments are made to subjects, controls, and their heirs. Medical care continues and interest from the settlement still provided.|
|1997||Legacy Committee is organized by academics and health
professionals to urge a formal federal apology. Others groups become
part of this process.
Miss Evers' Boys adapted into a film and aired by HBO in February.
President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore offer a formal federal apology for the Study in a White House ceremony as five of the six remaining Study survivors attend.
|1997 - 1998||Controversy arises over the clinical testing in developing countries of AZT, a drug to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother to child. The Study is invoked as a parallel because placeboes are given in one arm of these studies.|
|1999||The Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics is
Fred Gray organizes the Tuskegee Multicultural and Human Rights Center.
|2004||Ernest Hendon, the last survivor of the Study dies.|
|2005||The U.S. FDA approves BiDil, a heart medication, only for "self-identified African Americans."|
|2006||Shiloh Community Restoration Foundation is incorporated in Notasulga, AL. to place the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, its Rosenwald Fund School, and its graveyard on the Alabama Trust for Historical Preservation and the National Trust for Historical Preservation. Restoration of the Rosenwald School begins.|
|2009||Last widow receiving health benefits dies.|