BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Descendants of hundreds of black men who were left untreated for syphilis during an infamous government study want a judge to give them any money remaining from a $9 million legal settlement over the program.

The head of an organization for descendants of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study said the money could help fund college scholarships the group provides, and members would like to develop a memorial garden dedicated to the men.

Some of the funds also could go to a county-owned museum located in Tuskegee that has separately requested the funds, but the decision should be up to the descendants, said Lillie Tyson Head, president of the Voices of our Fathers Legacy Foundation.

“It was meant to go to the descendants in the first place,” Head, who lives in Virginia, said in an interview Friday.

The Voices group has sent a letter to U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson asking him to withhold a decision on the money until they have time to hire a lawyer and file documents in the long-running, class-action lawsuit over the study.

Fred Gray, an attorney who heads the museum and represented study participants in the lawsuit, said he had not seen the group’s letter and declined comment on the request. Gray has requested the money for the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, which includes an exhibit about the study and a memorial to the men.

Beginning in 1932 in the impoverished, segregated South, government medical worker in rural Alabama withheld treatment from unsuspecting black men infected with syphilis so doctors could track the disease and dissect their bodies afterward. Finally revealed by The Associated Press in 1972, the study ended and the men sued, resulting in the settlement.

The amount of money at stake hasn’t been made public.