Paul Lombardo, the Bobby Lee Cook professor of law at Georgia State, has a terrific op-ed, "When Heroes Stumble," over a controversy about an award given by the American Sexuallty Transmitted Diseases Association in the name of Dr. Thomas Parran. Here's the beginning of Lombardo's essay:
The American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association faces a quandary. The name of Dr Thomas Parran, a 20th century hero in the field of sexually transmitted disease prevention, accompanies a prestigious award given by the organization annually. Members are now confronted with the unsettling realization that Parran, like many honored figures of the past, also had a less heroic side. It was already known that he presided over the Public Health Service in the early years of the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study; more recently, the world learned that the scandalous intentional infection studies in Guatemala after World War II also occurred on Parran’s watch. Material from the files of Dr John Cutler, who directed the Guatemala experiments, has provided more troubling details. It suggests that Parran not only knew the details of Cutler’s work but also endorsed it with full awareness of its ethical toxicity. Should Parran, a giant of the field, be banished from its Pantheon, or should his eponymous award remain despite the newly found stain on his reputation?
The image is of the Buck v. Bell monument in Charlottesville, which I'm using because Lombardo wrote the leading book on the case and is a leader of the movement to recognize and atone for the tragedy of forced sterilization in the twentieth century. h/t to Greg Dorr, who's the author of another leading work on eugenics in the twentieth century, Segregation's Science.