CreatorDavid Feldshuh (play) Release dateFebruary 22, 1997 WriterDavid Feldshuh (play), Walter Bernstein (teleplay) ProducersKip Konwiser, Kern Konwiser, Peter Stelzer, Derek Kavanagh CastAlfre Woodard (Eunice Evers, R.N.), Laurence Fishburne (Caleb Humphries), Craig Sheffer (Dr. Douglas), Joe Morton (Dr. Sam Brodus), Obba Babatunde (Willie Johnson), Ossie Davis (Mr. Evers) Similar moviesLaurence Fishburne appears in Miss Evers Boys and The Tuskegee Airmen
TaglineA Government Lie. A Woman's Secret. A Story That Must Be Told.
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Miss Evers' Boys is a 1997 HBO television film starring Alfre Woodard and Laurence Fishburne, based on the true story of the decades-long Tuskegee experiment. It was directed by Joseph Sargent and adapted from the 1992 stage play written by David Feldshuh. The film was nominated for eleven Emmy Awards and won in four categories, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie.
The film tells the story of the Tuskegee experiment, a U.S. Federal Government secret medical experiment on poor African Americans in the years 1932-1972, designed to study the effects of untreated syphilis. The story is told from the perspective of the small town nurse Eunice Evers (Alfre Woodard) who is well aware of the lack of treatment, but feels her role is to console the involved men, many of whom are her close friends. In 1932 she is sent to help Dr. Brodus (Joe Morton) and Dr. Douglas (Craig Sheffer) to help them "treat" rural black men in the town of Tuskegee, Alabama. She is sent around town to tell the people that the government is funding their treatment for free, but unbeknownst to them the government will soon run a study that requires them to go without any form of real treatment. She then comes across 3 men in an abandoned schoolhouse: Willie Johnson (Obba Babatundé), Bryan Hodman, and "Big" Ben Washington, who agree for treatment. The study selected 412 men infected with the disease and promised them free medical treatment for what was called "bad blood".The men received fake long term treatment, which involved giving them Mercury and placebos even after penicillin was discovered as a cure. When Caleb Humphries (one of the test subjects that left the experiment) joins the Army during World War II and is treated and cured by penicillin, he returns to tell how he was cured and tries to get help for his friend but none of the hospitals would help because the test subjects were placed on a list that stated they should not receive medical treatment because they were participants in the experiment. The survivors of the study did receive treatment and financial compensation after the Senate Investigation.
Awards and nominations
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie – Alfre Woodard
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie - Single Camera Production – Michael Brown
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Special – Donald M. Morgan
1997 CableACE Award for Made for Cable Movie
1998 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film – Alfre Woodard
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special – Laurence Fishburne
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special – Obba Babatundé
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special – Ossie Davis
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries or a Special – Walter Bernstein
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries or a Special – Jaki Brown, Robyn M. Mitchell, Shay Griffin
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography – Dianne McIntyre
1997 Emmy Award for Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or a Special – Wynona Price, Matthew W. Mungle
1998 Golden Globe Award for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV