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Re: HENDON dies at 96
In Response To: HENDON dies at 96 ()
From the Tuskegee News - Thursday, Janusry 22, 2004
Last survivor of Tuskegee Syphilis Study Hendon dies
Ernest Hendon, the last living survivor of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, died on Friday, Jan. 16, 2004 at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika. He was 96 years of age.
Mr. Hendon was one of 623 men who participated in the study that was conducted on African-American men in Macon County, to document the effects of untreated syphilis. The study began in 1832 and lasted for 40 years until 1972.
At a White House ceremony in 1997, President Clinton apologized to the study participants and their families for the government’s role in funding and conducting such an experiment even after penicillin became available to treat the disease. Mr. Hendon did not attend the ceremony, but observed the apology via a special satellite feed to a local audience in Tuskegee.
The Alabama House of Representatives held a ceremony and issued a resolution acknowledging regret for the role the state of Alabama in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Although during the time of the study, Alabama law required that syphilis sufferers be treated, study participants were not given penicillin. At the ceremony, Mr. Hendon said, “Everybody knows now that we were mistreated”.
"The Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center joins the family of Mr. Hendon in mourning his recent passing." said Attorney Fred Gray, board president. In 1972, Gray sued the federal government on behalf of the participants in the study.
The Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center is a museum in development. It is dedicated to preserving human and civil rights history, and was established in 1997 to be a "permanent memorial” in recognition of the contributions made by the participants in the study.
Mr. Hendon's funeral was Tuesday, Jan. 21 from Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church, Union Springs. Burial was in Sweet Pilgrim Cemetery with Burton's Funeral Home, Tuskegee, directing. Survivors include: one sister, Mrs. William (Comer) Chambliss; and one brother, North B. (Shirley) Hendon.
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