book clifford's blues by john a. williams

I just completed my second reading of John A. Williams’ novel Clifford’s Blues — a well-written but far from feel-good story of a black, gay jazz musician imprisoned in Nazi Germany

The book frequently mentions the gruesome medical experiments performed on prisoners by Nazi physicians — which made me think of the 1932–1972 Tuskegee, Alabama syphilis study where over 400 African descendants with the disease were denied treatment by US government physicians in favor of observing syphilis’ long-term effect on humans. Clifford’s Blues also refers to the infamous American study.

In real life, 23 Nazi doctors were placed on trial in Nuremberg for crimes against humanity. 16 of them were convicted.

Conversely, there were no criminal trials for the Tuskegee experiment, but President Bill Clinton formally apologized for the government-sponsored study in 1997. Only seven of the test subjects at the time were known to be alive to hear the apology.

Here’s my Sunday Smack:

Should there have been a Nuremberg-style trial for the planners and implementors of the Tuskegee syphilis study?

song currently stuck in my head: “doo wop (that thing) [the soulboss jazzbounce]” – lauryn hill

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