Special Obituary Tribute

Tuskegee Syphilis Research Study Survivors


Internet Resources on the Tuskegee Syphilis Research Study


Ernest Hendon

Survived Tuskegee Study

By Associated Press, 1/21/2004

OPELIKA, Ala. -- Ernest Hendon, at 96 the last living survivor of the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, died on Friday, the lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in a lawsuit said in a statement. Mr. Hendon was one of 623 men who unwittingly participated in the experiment by the US Public Health Service to examine the effects of untreated syphilis on a group of Macon County black men from 1932 to 1972. The men were not told they had the disease and in 1972 filed a federal suit. The government agreed to provide free medical care and $9 million in payments to the victims and their families. In 1997, President Bill Clinton apologized to the study participants. Mr. Hendon did not attend the ceremony, but observed the apology over a special satellite feed to Tuskegee.

Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

Herman Shaw

A resident of Tallassee, died Monday, Dec. 3, 1999. Funeral services were Saturday, Dec. 18, from New Adka Baptist Church, Dadeville, with Rev. Fielder officiating. Burial followed in Reeltown Cemetery with McKenzie's Funeral Home staff directing. Survivors include one daughter, Mary E. Mullins, Tuskegee, five grandchildren, Daryll Shaw, Chattanooga, TN; Garrett Randy Mullins, Livermore, CA; Vale Shaw Bills, Nina Warren and Gigi Owens, all of Gadsden,, and special nephew, Johnny Frank Shaw, Tallassee.

Mr. Shaw was one of the last remaining survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Only five remain now. He was selected to be the
spokesman for the survivors who attended a White House ceremony in May of 19197 when President Bill Clinton apologized to the survivors and descendants of survivors for the U.S. government's role in the study. Mr. Shaw introduced President Clinton and made some stirring remarks on behalf ot those who had participated in the study.

When President Clinton apologized on behalf of the nation, only eight participants of the study that lasted 40 years and had ended 25 years earlier were still alive. Now there are only five - Fred Simmons, Charlie Pollard, Ernest Hendon, Frederic Moss and George Key. All are in their 90s with the exception of Mr. Simmons who is 102.

Passed away since that warm day (May 16, 1997) are Carter Howard, Sam Doner and just last week, Herman Shaw.

The Tuskegee News, December 23, 1999.

Fred Simmons

Fred Simmons' death leaves only four Study survivors 

The ranks of survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study dwindled to only four this past week with the death of 102 year old Fred Simmons of Tuskegee.

A small man--about 5 ft 4 and 100 lb--Simmons was noted for his engaging personality and being feisty. When he and four other survivors of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study went to Washington DC in 1997 to accept an apology from President Clinton for their mistreatment, Simmons flew for the first time. He was 100 years old--and President Clinton noted that in speech. Only Charlie Pollard and Frederick Moss of the five survivors who made the trip to the White House for the apology are still alive. Herman Shaw, the group's spokesman, Chester Howard, and now Simmons, have died since the apology.

In addition to Pollard of Notasulga, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the US government for the study, and Moss of Tuskegee (Magnolia Nursing Home), Ernest Hendon of Union Springs and George Key of Massachusetts survive. The death of Simmons' grandson, Michael Simmons, a year ago seemed to pull Simmons down from a health standpoint. His grandson was his escort for the trip to the White House. They walked everywhere because Mr. Simmons refused to use the wheelchair they provided. Michael was killed in a horseback riding accident.

Simmons had 19 children--nine of whom are still living. He is also survived by 43 grandchildren, 31 g-grandchildren and 30 gg-grandchildren. He died Saturday, Feb 5, 2000 at East Alabama Medical Center from a combination of heart and kidney failure. The funeral service for Mr. Simmons will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 from Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church with Pastor Steve Carson officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. Burton's Funeral Home is directing.  

The Tuskegee News,  February 2000



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