Posted on September 28, 2021

Alabama Statues Honor Slaves Subject to Experimental Surgery

Associated Press, September 26, 2021

A new monument in Montgomery pays tribute to three enslaved Black women who were subjected to experimental surgery by a 19th century physician celebrated for advancing women’s health.

The statues of Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey — three of numerous Black women Dr. J. Marion Sims operated on while in Montgomery — were unveiled Friday {snip}


“The endeavor is to change the narrative as it relates to the history and how it’s portrayed regarding Sims and the women that were used as experiments,” said Michelle Browder, the artist who created the monument. {snip}

Sims is held up as a pioneer in the field of gynecology, credited with developing new medical devices and a surgical technique to treat a complication of childbirth. But he also conducted experimental surgery without anesthesia on enslaved African-American women between 1845 and 1849.

Anesthesia was still very new at the time {snip}