April 17, 2020
Best of the States
AP traces black Americans’ history of mistrust toward the medical field
As New York, Chicago, New Orleans and other cities with large black populations began to emerge as hot spots for COVID-19, reporters Aaron Morrison and Jay Reeves decided it would be relevant to examine how black Americans have historically mistrusted the medical field.
The pair connected the skepticism in the black community in part to the aftermath of the notorious “Tuskegee Study,” in which roughly 600 poor black Alabama men were left untreated for syphilis to track the disease’s progress. The secret program was exposed in 1972 and ended, but its effects linger, well beyond Alabama.
With photography by Bebeto Matthews, the story received heavy play as the nation wrestled with the high rate of coronavirus infections among the black community.
For setting the AP apart with a timely examination of black Americans’ mistrust of the medical field, Morrison, Reeves and Matthews win this week’s Best of the States award.