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Give Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy justice

This petition had 29 supporters

At 103rd Street and Fifth avenue stood a statue of James Marion Sims. Sims developed a surgical solution for a condition known as the vesico-vaginal fistula, where connections develop between a woman's bladder and vagina. This condition usually is the result of prolonged labor.

Although Sims is regarded as the “father of modern gynecology,” historians have noted his honorific title came at the expense of conducting experiments on enslaved black women without anesthesia. Three of the subjects were Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsy. The subjects endured years of unimaginable torture while he performed repeated surgeries on them without anesthesia. In his own words in his journal Sims wrote about Lucy: “The poor girl, on her knees, bore the operation with great heroism and bravery. Lucy's agony was extreme.”

Sims felt Africans were numb to pain and made the ladies hold one down while he defied the other by performing hysterectomies, tubal ligation, among other horrible operations. He also took slave infants and used an awl, the device that put holes in belts and shoes, in an attempt to realign the baby's skull resulting obviously in certain death. The statue is an insult in so many ways that a sick, depraved man who left a trail of tears, death, and trauma should receive such an honor. See Dr Joy DeGruy excerpt video on him at

The statue should be placed in a museum and the pedestal inscription edited and remain in its current location with an inscription "This statue was removed to honor Betsy, Anarcha and Lucy, the mothers of modern gynecology."


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