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This feature length documentary tells the story of Vertus Hardiman and nine other young children, attending the same elementary school in Lyles Station Indiana who, in 1927 were severely irradiated during a medical experiment conducted at the local county hospital. The experiment was misrepresented as a newly developed cure for the scalp fungus known as ringworm. In reality the ringworm fungus was merely the lure used to gain access to innocent children whose unsuspecting parents blindly signed permission slips for the treatment.
Vertus was five years old and the youngest. Now after 20 years of friendship with writer/producer Wilbert Smith, through their church choir, Vertus unburdens himself to Wilbert with an incredible story, finally exposing the severe physical complication caused by this shocking medical crime. This crime had severe physical complications for Vertus – namely a harshly irradiated and malformed head, with an actual hole in his skull.
This documentary reveals that the Lyles Station experiments were not an isolated event. One such example involves radiation experiments performed in Israel in 1951against one hundred thousand darker-skinned immigrant children, a tragedy financed by the United States Army. Amazingly, many of these victims arrived on U.S. soil in cages for further study, in an attempt to determine human reaction to over-exposure to radiation.
He also strongly encouraged young people to “keep their aim high in the belief that they are somebody.” He insisted that education is the foundation for creating a heaven while here on earth. Vertus never borrowed money and was able to save amazing amounts by investing his funds in real estate which he bequeathed to both First AME Church and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Vertus harbored no anger and was known to say frequently, “If I were angry, my prayers would not be answered and your heart’s not right if you’re angry.”