The consequences of government funded experimentation on Black people like Relf Sisters are still being felt today.
In the early 1900s, black cities like Alabama faced a horrific Nazi-like eugenic experiment: the government used to sterilize black men and women, pronouncing them mentally deficient and impaired.
The aim was as to purify the white race by getting rid of the poor, most of which were blacks, or promiscuous and those, who were alcoholics or mentally ill.
The then Trustee of Alabama Insane Hospitals, Dr. William Glassell Sommerville stated that “moral disposition for good and evil, including criminal tendencies…are transmitted from…one generation to another…and is as firmly believed by all scientific men as the fact that parents transmit physical qualities to their children”.
In 1973, doctors deceived the Relf sisters’ mother and Minnie, 14, and Mary, 12, were sterilized. Their mother, who couldn’t read and write, signed “X” on a paper hoping that her daughters would get birth control drugs. Instead, the doctors used an experimental Depo-Provera. Many people think that in such a way the doctors pursued government’s interest in suppressing the growth of Black population.
A later investigation revealed that the state money was used to perform sterilizations in thousands of cases but now one can only sympathize with the involuntary victims of the barbaric practices as there are no children and grandchildren, who can demand justice and compensation.
These stories are not just horrible tales from the past, they have consequences for the present. For example, the Tuskegee experiment resulted in general shortening of Black people’s lives resulting from the lack of trust in medicine.
We only come across the information about these experiments and their results decades after they are finished and God only knows what is being done to us now.
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