"Examining Tuskegee" seeks to reaffirm the importance of medical ethics and informed consent. Unlike previous studies on Tuskegee, Reverby's
"Examining Tuskegee" highlights the usual black-and-white tale of ethics and deception by documenting the personal stories of surviving victims.
"I was terrified that I wouldn't understand the heavy southern accent and I was more worried that they wouldn't understand my New York accent," Reverby said of her first interactions with former Tuskegee subjects. She traveled to Macon County, Ala. to interview the men directly.
Reverby was not solely concerned with making her findings on Tuskegee known to the government. She spoke to the families of the victims to help them understand the injustice of the syphilis study.
"The scariest thing was speaking at a Southern Baptist church," she recalled. It was in that Baptist Church that she discussed the syphilis study before an audience of approximately one hundred individuals in Notasulga, Ala., just outside of Tuskegee. "About a quarter were family members of the study," Reverby recalled. She had to face down the community's suspicious comments: "‘Why should we believe you? Are you here just to use us one more time?'"
To acknowledge Reverby's efforts in documenting and publishing details on the Tuskegee experiments, Macon County declared a "Susan Reverby Day." "This was a high point in my intellectual career," said Reverby, who was overwhelmed by the response of Macon County and the warmth extended to her.
Although Reverby acknowledged the personal importance of the reaction to her efforts from the local communities, she is even more appreciative of the impact she has had on the academic community. Her work has had a lasting impact on more than twenty historians, a fact that is deeply meaningful to her. - from The Wellesley News