Statue Of Gynecologist Who Experimented On Enslaved Black Women And Children Removed
Today the City of New York decided to remove the statue of Dr. James Marion Sims from Central Park.
I knew of J. Marion Sims and the atrocities he committed against enslaved Black women in the name of medicine. Credited as the father of modern gynecology, Sims experimented on the women he owned often performing surgical procedures without anesthesia because he believed Black women couldn’t feel pain.
His government-sanctioned crimes came back to mind when I wrote about the women of the Black Youth Project 100 and their protesting efforts to have his statue removed from Central Park. At the time, Rossanna Mercedes, a member of the Black Youth Project 100, told the New York Daily News, “Memorializing of imperialist slaverholders, murderers and torturers like J. Marion Sims is White supremacy. We will no longer allow government institutions like the New York City Parks Department to passively allow symbols of oppression.”
When we originally reported the story, in August of last year, the city said they had no plans to remove the statue. Instead, they were going to “add a sign to the statue that offered greater context about the price of Sims’ discoveries.”
In the months after I reported the story, I would watch a talk from Dr. Joy DeGruy. Known for her work on “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.” In a predominately White room, Dr. DeGruy spoke about J. Marion Sims. And while what he did to the women was horrific enough, when I learned what he’d done to babies, their children I became sick to my stomach. I won’t describe the procedure here because even researching it again the morning, I found myself sobbing in front of my computer screen. And I don’t want to do that to y’all. Just know that his work represents some of the most evil actions taken against African people—perhaps ever. You can read about it here.
So the decision to remove his statue was the only right and just one to make.