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NYC Removes Statue of Gynecologist Who Experimented on Enslaved Black Women

HeadlineApr 18, 2018

In New York City, authorities have removed a statue from Central Park of 19th century gynecologist J. Marion Sims, known as the “father of gynecology,” who repeatedly performed painful nonconsensual scientific experiments on enslaved black women without anesthesia. The removal of the statue comes after repeated protests last year, amid a nationwide wave of demonstrations against Confederate monuments and other racist statues. This is author Harriet Washington, speaking on Democracy Now! about J. Marion Sims back in 2007, when she released her book “Medical Apartheid.”

Harriet Washington: “He bought, or otherwise acquired, a group of black women who he housed in a laboratory, and over the period of five years and approximately 40 surgeries on one slave alone, he sought to cure a devastating complication of childbirth called vesicovaginal fistula. This cure entailed repeatedly doing incisions on their genitalia, very painful and, you know, very emotionally difficult, as you can imagine. And in the end, he claims to have cured one of them.”

New York City says it will relocate the statue to a cemetery in Brooklyn where Sims is buried.

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