Accession #: ICI-21768
Title: Newspaper Ad in a Seattle Newspaper seeking volunteers to test an HIV vaccine.
Discussion: An ad found in a Seattle ‘give-away’ journal from the late 1990s. To our eyes, the visuals seemed bold and adventurous, perhaps a bit too bold in light of what the ad was trying to accomplish: finding volunteers to test an HIV vaccine. Given America’s history of testing vaccines on (sometimes unwilling or unknowing) black subjects, this ad, which features African American figures, seemed to (perhaps unwittingly) evoke that period of national shame. This is a powerful example of how images can carry multiple meanings and how they can archive our cultural anxieties in subtle and insidious ways.