J. Marion Sims is called “the Father of Gynecology” due to his experiments on enslaved women in Alabama who were often submitted as guinea pigs by their plantation owners who could not use them for sexual pleasure.
He kept seven women as subjects for four years, but left a trail of death and permanently traumatized black women.
Anarcha was one of the women Sims experimented upon. A detailed history of this monster is in Harriet Washington’s book, Medical Apartheid.
Sims believed that Africans were numb to pain and operated on the women without anesthesia or antiseptic. The procedures usually happened this way.
Black female slaves who were guinea pigs would hold one subject down as Sims performed hysterectomies, tubal ligation, and other procedures to examine various female disorders.
Sims also performed a host of operations on other slave populations. The following excerpt details his “practice” on enslaved infants.
Sims began to exercise his freedom to experiment on his captives. He took custody of slave infants and, with a shoemaker’s awl, tried to pry the bones of their skulls into proper alignment.
You guys should really google him.
(if you click the link, I did it for you)
fucking hell I just nearly got sick.
tumblrs tuaght me so much
I had NO IDEA how SO MANY THINGS we have in modern days was LITERALLY made at the expense of black women. The fact that they skip over this in things like biology classes and stuff like that is disgusting.
This is just
This is a great post. I clicked on the Google link above (provided by racemash) and I read this New York Times article. Barron Lerner reports how over time, scientists have protested the fact that three statutes were built to commemorate Sims (in South Carolina, Alabama and New York City), but none have been built to acknowledge the sacrifice of his three main “test subjects” Lucy, Anarcha and Betsy. I like this quote: “The story of J. Marion Sims is a reminder of how history gets rewritten over time. The hope, of course, is that each new account gets closer to the truth”.
This story also reminds me of the history of trials for the oral contraceptive pill, which were tested on poor women in a small town in Puerto Rico in the 1950s. The women were deceived about their participation in the trial. They not told about the possible side effects of the untested drug. They did not give their informed consent. Many women died and had ongoing health complications as a result of the trials.
Today, many women in advanced nations benefit from the experiments conducted on poor, enslaved and disempowered women, but few people know about the women whose health was compromised as a result. Additionally, for all the past sacrifices, poor women are less likely to benefit from scientific trials. While Sims’ experiments have been attributed to the eradication of vesicovaginal fistulas in advanced countries, this is still a major problem for 3.5 million women in developing nations, particularly in countries around Africa. The argument that unethical practices of the past might be excused for their present-day benefits is wilfully ignorant of the reality of who didn’t benefit back then and who hasn’t benefited today: poor, non-white women.