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Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation

Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation
Descendants of the Men in the
“United States Public Health Service Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male”

Lillie Tyson Head, Leadership Team Chairwoman

Numerous descendants of the 623 men in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, performed in Tuskegee and Macon County, Alabama are passionately working to honor the lives and memories of their anscestors. In April, of 2014, in Tuskegee, at the 14th Annual Commemoration of the Presidential Apology, at Tuskegee University, families organized under the name of Voices for Our Fathers Legacy Foundation. This Foundation represents descendants of our ancestors, our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers. We are speaking and acting as a unified body; we are representing the men whose bodies were used in this unethical study. Our mission is:  To uplift the legacy of the USPHS Study In Macon County by honoring the men in the study and convening their families as a means to preserve history and  enrich education in clinical and public health research.   We work together as families with the vision of transforming the legacy of this egerious study that lasted for 40 years, 1932- 1972.  As descendants, we are called to research the answers to our questions, honor and remember Our Fathers, and help preserve the history of the USPHS Syphilis Study.

The United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study is the longest and the most immoral health and medical treatment study ever conducted in the history of the United States. This study took advantage of innocent poor African American men living in rural Tuskegee and Macon County, Alabama, by keeping them uninformed, untreated and without their consent. This was a non-therapeutic study of the progress of untreated syphilis in human beings. Indeed, the lack of knowledge and non medical treatment that lasted for four decades had a profound impact on these men’s health and the integrity of their lives.  Naturally, the physical mistreatment and non treatment for syphilis contributed to generational health problems, ill feelings and mistrust felt by the families and the communities of Tuskegee and Macon County, Alabama. And it continues to impact how and why African Americans and other people of color are reluctant to participate in clinical studies and biomedical research.

Most of what has been seen and read about our fathers, the non consented participants in the USPHS Study does not tell their life stories, describe them as loving human beings or describe the effects the heinous study had on their families.  Our Fathers were men with strong characters and unshakable faiths.  They were faithful sons, proud husbands, devoted fathers, brothers and good citizens in their communities.   Freddie Lee Tyson, Gary Mitchell, Anderson Sinclair and Warren Julkes, Sr. whose pictures are shown at the beginning of this page are four of more than 600 beloved souls maltreated in the Syphilis Study.    In order to transform and honor the Legacies of Our Fathers, we must tell their stories. The Voices for Our Fathers Foundation includes all of descendants of the male participants of the United States Public Health Service Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male Syphilis Study. Descendants are encouraged to join and help carry out the mission of this recently formed non- profit organization. As their descendants we must be the voices for Our Fathers and intentionally give homage to their lives and acknowledge their sacrifices.

Also, as a lasting tribute to Our Fathers, a hollow ground space at the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care was dedicated on March 31, 2014 as a sacred space that will always remember and honor the 623 African American men in the USPHS Syphilis Study. Vocies for Our Fathers Foundation, Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care and Tuskegee University are working to preserve the history of the USPHS Syphilis Study by developing this special garden.  This Memorial and Inspiration Garden will document and acknowledge the lives and sacrifices of these brave men, and their contributions to Bioethics Research, Health and Medical Care particulary when caring for the poor. The Garden will also be a place of healing, inspiritaion and reflection. And it will serve as a reminder to all people…………never allow such a study again.

Join us by:  Email,; Facebook, Tuskegee Family Legacy;  Twitter, Voices 4 Our Fathers

Vocies for Our Fathers Foundation Leadership Team Members

Lillie Head – Chairwoman
Wirtz, VA
Maggie Antoine – Secretary
Tuskegee, AL
Joyce Williams – Treasurer
Mongtomery, AL
Florine Edwards – Membership
Memphis, TN
Emma Sinclair-Willis
Notasulga, AL