With all that has been done to Blacks in the past, you would think that ppl would learn from their grave mistakes. Instead, some continue to harbor HATRED toward people of color for no other reason, than that of Race. Learn from your ancestor’s mistakes and be better than they were.
Not so long ago. Vertus Wellborn Hardiman (March 9, 1922 – June 1, 2007) became a victim of a US government human radiation experiment. At the age of 5 the experiment left him with a painful skull deformity that forced him to cover his head for 80 years. Hardiman was born in Lyles Station, Indiana. In 1928, Vertus attended the local elementary school. The parents of 10 children at school were approached by county hospital officials and were told that there was a new treatment for “ringworm.” What the parents didn’t know was that the children were actually part of a human experiment on extreme radiation chosen because they lived in such an isolated location and because they were all Black. The children were exposed to high levels and many were left with disfiguring scalp scars and head trauma. The effects of the experiments were mostly hidden from the townspeople of Lyles Station. Many of the children wore wigs and hats to cover up the results of the experiments. Vertus Hardiman finally broke his silence more than 70 years later, to a friend, Wilbert Smith, who partnered with Brett Leonard to produce the documentary, “Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed.” The 2011 film is the amazing story of Hardiman and the nine other children who were affected by the horrible experiment in Lyles Station. Hardiman was physically affected the worst by the radiation. As a result, he experienced a slow dissolving of the bone matter of his skull for the rest of his life. The ensuing deformed head and a gaping hole at its top were disguised by a succession of hats, toupees, and wigs. Every day of his life he spent an hour changing bandages and dressing the wound. He died at age 85. Upon his death, Vertus bequeathed eight million dollars to his church and favorite educational scholarship fund. Vertus harbored no anger and was known to say frequently, “If I am angry, my prayers will not be answered because my heart’s not right.”
Written by Pam WillIam December 16th, 2018, courtesy of African American Photography