NYC Council Hearing on Marion Sim Statue in Central Park in Harlem


NYC Council: Powerful testimony by Girl Scouts of NYC, NYers for Parks, and others and Council Members: Grodenchik, Rosenthal, and others..

The Atlantic What is the backstory?

Why a Statue of the ‘Father of Gynecology’ Had to Come Down J. Marion Sims’s advances in medical science were made through experimentation on enslaved women.

The debate over the Sims statue echoes the debate over Confederate monuments, with supporters of keeping the statue accusing those of wanting to remove it of attempting to erase history. Sims developed a groundbreaking series of treatments for a condition known as vesicovaginal fistula, “an abnormal opening between the bladder and the vagina” that causes incontinence, through a series of agonizing experiments on slave women, performed without anesthesia. Those experiments formed the basis of medical breakthroughs that would later be deployed for the benefit of wealthier, whiter clients in more voluntary settings. Sims’s medical advances reflect how white Americans benefited from the slave system as a whole: Just as profits from slavery fueled American industrialization, so modern gynecology was birthed by the anguish of black women treated as chattel. And just as the critical role of slavery as a cornerstone of American capitalism has been neglected until recently, Sims’s reliance on human experimentation has only become controversial in the past few decades.

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