NYC Is Removing Statue of a Doctor Who Experimented on Enslaved Women

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

A statue of J. Marion Sims, a 19th century surgeon who performed painful medical experiments on slaves without anesthesia, was removed from New York City's Central Park Tuesday morning.

Sims, widely regarded as the "father of modern gynecology", established the first hospital for women in New York City in 1855. He invented the speculum and pioneered a surgical technique for repairing a vesicovaginal fistula, a complication of obstructed childbirth. The statue, erected on the edge of Central Park in East Harlem in 1894, is being taken down on Tuesday after sitting there for more than 100 years.

A commission that Mr.de Blasio created to make recommendations about how to evaluate the city's monuments and other public images had proposed that the Sims statue be removed.

For now the city wants to keep the statue, but it's unclear when it will be moved to Brooklyn.

According to the New York Daily News, the statue "will now be installed on a low base next to Sims' grave at Green-Wood".

City Councilwoman Inez Barron (D) agreed, saying at Monday's hearing, "Green-Wood Cemetery has said they're willing to take it".

"In its current location, the Sims monument has come to represent a legacy of oppressive and abusive practices on bodies that were seen as subjugated, subordinate, and exploitable in service to his fame", the panel wrote in a report released in January. It is the only statue citywide that an advisory panel chose to remove.