Rotary, Tuskegee University unveil new monument honoring fight against polio

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:11 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 11:00 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A new monument was unveiled on Tuskegee University’s campus Thursday to honor, remember and bring more attention to the fight to end polio.

“We are grateful to the rotary’s acknowledgment of the dedication of Black researchers and doctors to fight the war against polio,” Tuskegee University President Charlotte Morris said.

The Tuskegee Institute played a significant role in developing the polio vaccine. The monument is a life-size bronze statue that depicts Dr. John W. Chenault, nurse Warrena A. Turpin and a young polio patient named Gordon Stewart. It’s meant to represent the spirit of excellence prevalent at the Tuskegee Infantile Paralysis Center, where Black doctors, researchers, and support personnel conducted significant work critical to winning the war against polio.

“This statue memorializes what has happened in the past, and I charge you to go to the future and make a difference, a positive difference in the world,” Rotary District 6880 representative Samuel Adams said.

In 1939, the Tuskegee Infantile Paralysis Center became the first and only facility to treat polio in African American children. The fight against polio has proven successful. Today, only two countries report active polio cases.

With the world so close to eradicating the disease, Rotary District 6880 felt it was important to honor the scientific and medical contributions made here.

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