activists denounce statue of gynecologist who used black women as “guinea pigs”

August 21, 2017
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A South Carolinian physician and slave owner, Dr. J Marion Sims is considered to be the “father of modern gynecology”. Like too many other white doctors of the 19th and 20th century, Sims’ pioneering gynecological research was built on the suffering of enslaved black women who were subjugated to non-consensual and brutal experimentation. Being a particularly cruel and racist figure in American medical history, Sims has a statue in Central Park that honors the advancements made possible by his heinous actions.

But like a growing number of organizers and resisters across the country, Black Youth Project – 100 activists Darializa Auila-Chevalier, (23), Jewel Cadet (29), Rossanna Mercedes (27), Alexis Yeboah-Kodie (23), and Jamilah Felix (21) were on the ground this weekend protesting for the removal of Sims’ monument.

“Memorializing of imperialist slaveholders, murderers, and torturers like J. Marion Sims is white supremacy,” said Rossanna Mercedes. “We will no longer allow government institutions like the New York City Parks Department to passively allow symbols of oppression.”

Dressed in ‘bloodied’ hospital gowns, activists vocalized opposition to the bronze likeness of the doctor and its symbolic white washing of history and honoring of white supremacy. “At best, J. Marion Sims was a racist man who exploited the institution of racism for his own gain,” Mack said.

“At best, he was a man who recognized the humanity of black slaves to use them for medical research about the human body — but not enough to recognize and treat their pain during surgery.”

The monument was dedicated in 1895 and it stands at the corner of Fifth Ave. and East 103rd St. in Harlem.