NY on Tuesday removed from Central Park the statue of a 19th century gynecologist who experimented on enslaved black women without anesthesia, as the United States increasingly confronts racism in its history. Mayor Bill de Blasio established the panel in August 2017 after violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee monument. Though Sims founded New York's first women's hospital and innovated new surgical techniques, his success came at the cost of unethical medical treatment of enslaved women in the antebellum era. Sims' also developed a technique to fix vesicovaginal fistuas, a painful tear that could happen during childbirth.
Sims was a 19th century surgeon who is considered a pioneer in the field of gynecology.
In the a year ago or so, during a period of dialogue about what it means to continue to maintain monuments to figures whose lives no longer seem praiseworthy, Confederate monuments have been removed from many cities, and universities have begun to come to grips with their own and their benefactors' connections to slavery. "Marion Sims is not our hero!"
A temporary sign will be placed at the Central Park site where the statue was until the city decides what to put in its place, officials said. It will be relocated to where Sims is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Some argued that the statue shouldn't be relocated, but removed from NYC entirely.
The commission's president, Signe Nielsen, wept on Monday when she called for the vote, The New York Times reported.
"Women of African descent, black and brown women have consistently had our reproductive freedoms and rights oppressed", said Chanel Porchia-Albert, founder of Ancient Song Doula Services, who spoke at a public hearing before the design commission vote, according to NYDN.