Photo Credit: Kyle Sampson
Mothers of Gynecology Monuments Of Enslaved Women Unveiled In Alabama
Montogomery, Alabama, recently unveiled an installment of 3 iron statues that honor the Mothers of Gynecology. They were a group of 11 enslaved women who were experimented on in the 19th century.
An American physician, J. Marion Sims, took advantage of Black bodies to conduct gynecology research and, oftentimes, didn’t use anesthesia when executing these experiments on the women. His unethical medical practices are now deemed controversial but back then, he was celebrated as the “Father of Modern Gynecology” which is a wrong retelling of the historical events that hindered these African American women psychologically.
Black artist and activist, Michelle Browder created the Mothers of Gynocology bronze monuments of three women — Lucy, Betsey, and Anarcha.
The statues stand firm in an intentional location that is a few blocks away from the tortuous hospital where J. Marion Sims conducted these inhumane experiments. The statues don’t have limbs and can appear like mini altars for these women who were forced to give up their autonomy in the hands of male white doctors who abused their medical credentials.
Located at the cornered intersection of Mildred and Sayre streets in Montgomery, these statues will remain to symbolize the segregated history in Alabama that damaged the local African American community.
The Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice on Caroline street is only a block away from the “Mothers of Gynecology” monuments and is the first American installation that remembers the enslaved Black Americans who experienced the racist brunt of the Jim Crow era.
Browder is shifting the spotlight and conversation towards Black women who face medical abuse because of their skin color and all the deaths that relate to Black pregnancies.
The monuments are symbolic for Black women activists and historical figures who are martyrs for their strength and existence towards equality.
The Mothers of Gynecology are leaders of resistance and are strong examples to how the medical industry can alter this paradigm where Black women aren’t receiving equal care in national hospitals.
Browder’s artistic creations sheds light on these civil injustices to steer the state’s culture into a future of awareness.