[....The following is testimony from Elmer Allen‘s granddaughter before the President‘s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, March, 1995.
I saw him as a depressing sight. Joyless, unanimated, with a damaged head and a broken spirit.
During his lifetime, I saw him as a burden rather than as an asset to my grandmother, as she waited on him, pampered him.
My mother, I recall, resented this treatment while she contended that he didn't do his share for the family.
She recalled a life of living with a father who, when not on an alcoholic binge, suffered from frequent seizures which had to be endured by the rest of the family.
My uncle, on the other hand, did not seem resentful, but I often felt he must have been disappointed in a father incapable of playing a simple bat and ball game or merely offering a positive life outlook.
My grandmother said it wasn't always like this. She said my grandfather was once a vibrant and handsome Pullman porter, a hard worker who wanted only the best for his family.
When I was younger, I liked to do puzzles from the newspaper, where you find words hidden among randomly-arranged letters. Since my grandfather spent most of his time sitting alone, he would sometimes complete these puzzles -- we would sometimes complete these puzzles together, and eventually he began saving them in a neat stack and worked on completing them himself.
In the springtime, I saw him take brown paper bags and make kites for the kids down the street. He once made a pen for my pet rabbit.
He often talked of feelings in his missing leg and would shudder and make comments like "they must be working on my leg today".
Years later, when I was home on breaks from college, the sight of my grandfather was horrible. He seemed useless and frail. He had lost more of life's joy. He seemed angry and sad. The pain was obvious, and he was sometimes furious and irate,mean and spiteful.
I often have dreams about my grandfather. Before his death, I had a dream that he was in his old house in a coffin, open with the body in full view, dead, but alive somehow. After his death, another dream revealed him through a doorway, sitting in his wheelchair, looking feeble, yet in good spirits. He seemed to have a newfound joy, laughing and joking with male friends.
When Eileen Welsome presented my family with the fact that this man was indeed CAL-13, a human nuclear guinea pig, I wondered, could this be the reason, the origin, the root cause of this depressed character that I considered all along to be my grandfather.
He lived over 40 years without a zest for life and with a pain I imagine was without equal. For I understand that the reality of life for the African American man of the 1940s was already a predetermined bleak one, dictated by the white man's tyrannical power of economics, politics, and, to a certain degree, basic freedom.
Being born a black male was already a handicap, having a limited education was a further handicap. Then to add a physical handicap, due to being basically tricked into donating a body limb for science. With all of this in mind, I now understand how alcohol could relieve his reality, how depression and schizophrenia could take control of his life, how his feelings of hopelessness shattered such a promising future.
In my most recent dream, I saw my grandfather with both legs, standing with confidence and strength of character I never saw in real life. He had a young appearance. He had a look of joy on his face, and he seemed content.
This statement is signed April D. Whitfield, granddaughter of Elmer Allen, March 15th, 1995.
Good afternoon. My daughter, April Whitfield, and the other survivors of Elmer Allen are determined that the truth about his plutonium injection and subsequent leg amputation be made a part of the public record.
We continue to be appalled by the apparent attempts at cover-ups, the inferences that the nature of the times, the 1940s, allowed scientists to conduct experiments without getting a patient's consent or without mentioning risks. We contend that my father was not an informed participant in the plutonium experiment.
He was asked to sign his name several times while a patient at the University of California hospital in San Francisco. Why was he not asked to sign his name permitting scientists to inject him with plutonium? Why was his wife, who was college trained, not consulted in this matter?
It is my hope that history will not be rewritten in committees who claim that they do not understand the actions of the scientists of the 1940s, those who claim that poor and disenfranchised African American men could not be hoodwinked by his doctors.
I hope you will understand that just as Jewish fathers were placed in the ovens at Auschwitz, my father, Elmer Allen, was placed in his own private oven here in the United States of America. He was left there for 44 years, and the scientists occasionally took a peek inside to see if he was still alive.
His survivors are pledged to tell the truth about this experiment for the next 50 or even 100 years, if necessary, so that future generations will have more than lies, half truths, and inconclusive reports, when attempting to recount this real life horror story.
Thank you. I didn't know I had 10 minutes because I would have a lot more to say, but I thank you. ...]