Tuskegee, Alabama

The City of Tuskegee is in Macon County, Alabama. Based on the 2000 census, the population of Tuskegee was 11,846 and Tuskegee is designated a Micropolitan Statistical Area. The City of Tuskegee has been an influential site in various stages of African American history. Tuskegee was the name of a village of the Creek Indians. Tuskegee was also the name of at least two different Creek Indian tribes, one living in central Alabama and one in Tennessee.

In Tuskegee in 1881, Booker T. Washington started the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers. The Tuskegee school was later named the Tuskegee Institute and later Tuskegee University, with the mission of educating freedmen for self-sufficiency. Tuskegee was the site of the now-infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment, a horrific clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service through the Institute. The experiment enlisted black poor individuals with syphilis and observed their physical reactions without giving them proper healthcare. When the infected black man went to get medical assistance, they believed that they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government; instead they only received basic pain relief pills.

Tuskegee University is a place of excellence for African-American education. The Heart of the Tuskegee University is designated a National Historic District, and in 1974 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The most famous teacher at Tuskegee University was George Washington Carver, whose name is synonymous with research into products developed from a variety of Southern crops, most notably the peanut. Tuskegee was also home to the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of African-American pilots trained by the U.S. Military. The Tuskegee Airmen and their stories have not only inspired books, but in early 2012 a film was released in their honor to national acclaim. The film proved to be a box office hit. There is also a Tuskegee Airmen National Museum honoring the history of the brave men. Tuskegee was the birthplace of Rosa Louise Parks in 1913; Parks became a civil rights activist in Montgomery in the 1950’s and 1960s. Tuskegee is the county seat of Macon County.

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