J. Marion Sims—New York City, NY, USA

A statue to the gynecologist James Marion Sims was removed from Central Park after city action responded to public outrage.

The New York City Public Design Commission voted to remove the statue of J. Marion Sims after it stood for 124 years.1 Sims was known as the “father of modern gynecology,” but evidence shows that he routinely experimented on enslaved Black women.2 Some of those women are known to history as Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey.3

Protests for the statue's removal had been ongoing for at least eight years,4 but the fight did not end there. In 2019, community members5 continued to express outrage at the proposed replacement.6 The Sims statue was relocated to Sims grave and recontextualized with a plaque highlighting his unethical medical practices.7

References


  1. Statue of ‘father of gynecology,’ who experimented on enslaved women, removed from Central Park ↩︎

  2. New York just removed a statue of a surgeon who experimented on enslaved women ↩︎

  3. Remembering Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey: The Mothers of Modern Gynecology ↩︎

  4. J Marion Sims: controversial statue taken down but debate still rages ↩︎

  5. CITY ANNOUNCES COMMUNITY COALITION AND UPCOMING PROGRAM IN NEXT STEPS TOWARD COMMISSIONING NEW PUBLIC ARTWORK IN EAST HARLEM ↩︎

  6. “We Feel Very Betrayed”: Community Protests Replacement for J. Marion Sims Monument ↩︎

  7. Mayor de Blasio Releases Monuments Commission's Report, Announces Decisions on Controversial Monuments ↩︎

Photo Credit: AJ+