#BlackHistory365 I debated most of yesterday about this post. I couldn’t have a black history fact named for a white man without representing the black woman associated with him. #SayHerName #RacialAmnesia
The problem is that throughout history White Man’s Praise/Story refuses to acknowledge Black Women’s Pain/Story. The white man highlights his stills and accomplishments but negates the black woman to a random group or erases her from the history all together. That brings us to Dr. J. Marion Sims, a 19th-century physician dubbed the “Father of modern gynecology”. Invisible ghost in his shadow are the African enslaved women whom he experimented on without anesthesia. These women are unknown and unnamed except for three: Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey. Sims operated on at least 10 slave women from about 1845 to 1849. Although anesthesia became available in 1846, at least three of the slaves; Lucy, Anarcha and Betsey, endured surgery without it. A New York Times article in October 1894 explains how Sims’s “first operation was on a female slave and was unsuccessful. He operated again and again on the same subject [Anarcha], and finally, in his thirtieth trial, he was successful.”
In his autobiography, Sims wrote about Lucy: “The poor girl, on her knees, bore the operation with great heroism and bravery. Lucy’s agony was extreme.” Only after the procedures were the slaves given opium. Now we get to the part where the question is asked “what’s in a name” and if Sims deserves the accolades heaped upon him.
Ethically, not stating emphatically, that Sims was The Butcher of Montgomery and should be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity” is the same as saying that the Butcher of Birkenau methods were also justified. Yet, Israel (Jews) and several other countries searched for the Butcher of Birkenau for decades so he could be prosecuted for war crimes.
Lastly, in order to give credit where it’s due and acknowledge the #HiddedFigures of modern gynecological surgery we have to acknowledge #Anarcha, #Lucy, and #Betsey as The Mothers of Modern Gynecology