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Dr. J. Marion Sims statue to be removed from Central Park

17 April 2018

The city of NY removed the statue of Doctor J. Marion Sims from Central Park on Tuesday.

Considered a pioneer in gynecological surgery, Sims' legacy has been reconsidered after records revealed that the surgeon operated on 12 enslaved women-without anesthesia. 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. He invented the speculum and pioneered a surgical technique for repairing a vesicovaginal fistula, a complication of obstructed childbirth.

The New York City Parks Department removed the statue from the park early Tuesday, but it will eventually be put up again in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where Sims is buried. But critics say his use of enslaved African-American women as experimental subjects was unethical. At that time, many spoke out against the statue of Sims, though the majority of the debate centered on representations of Christopher Columbus throughout the city. "Marion Sims is not our hero!"

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

But the decision to erect the statue again instead of removing it entirely drew the ire of some activists.

"I recognize his contributions but it's sort of if Josef Mengele had contributions to the field of medicine, we wouldn't put a statue to him because of how he got that information", she said. The panel determined the statue of Dr. Sims was the only monument controversial enough to be taken down.

Of course, while moving the statue out of a position of prominence along Central Park and relegating it to the south-west corner of a large cemetery is certainly a statement, some feel that the statue shouldn't be displayed at all.

Dr. J. Marion Sims statue to be removed from Central Park