Black as Less than Person: Case Studies on Race, Law & Medical Science in the United States

Freedom Center Journal, April 2017

42 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2015 Last revised: 9 Jul 2021

Date Written: May 1, 2017

Abstract

U.S. law and policy has allowed unscrupulous doctors and scientists to treat Black people as guinea pigs in medical research. The roots of discriminatory medical research go much deeper than the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. By using a case study format, this narrative essay tracks human experimentation on Black people in the United States from the Founding Era to the twenty-first century. It explores how some of the most important modern medical advances stem from deplorable experiments on slaves, discusses how scientific racism persists despite advances in modern scientific theory, and details how the Supreme Court helped fertilize the eugenics movement. The essay concludes with a brief look at racial disparities in healthcare outcomes and how to begin freeing Black Americans from Dred Scott's legacy.

Keywords: race, racism, Tuskegee, medical science, medicine, ethics, bioethics, Dred Scott, Supreme Court, history, eugenics

Suggested Citation

Alagood, R. Kyle, Black as Less than Person: Case Studies on Race, Law & Medical Science in the United States (May 1, 2017). Freedom Center Journal, April 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689037

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