Narrative Visions of the Willowbrook State School: An Artistic Survey in Bioethics and Special Education
Bioethics and special education have inextricably been connected to one another in the historical context and study of justice and universal civil rights in the American cultural landscape. These two areas have more in common than most people would have considered, symmetrically rooted in the egregious history affiliated with unethical and non-consensual human research experimentations conducted on children with intellectual disabilities. Historically, the Willowbrook State School (1947-1987), a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities, once located in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, represents the best example of the intersection between bioethics and special education studies. Narrative Visions of the Willowbrook State School serves as an opportunity for Dr. Obiora N. Anekwe to help the larger global community understand the impact of injustice and unethical human subject experimentation conducted on populations with special needs. Dr. Anekwe wrote his book in order to tell stories through art for countless children with special needs who were negatively affected by the former Willowbrook State School. His interpretative collages and vivid photographs attempt to begin repairing the wrongdoings and restore faith back to a medical community who desires to positively impact scientific discovery through humane and balanced research experimentation.