i was reminded today of an article i read last month titled commodities and cages... i thought it fitting to share an excerpt this international womyn's day as a tribute to Betsy, Lucy, and Anarcha (and so many more) who were enslaved and brutalised in the 1800s...
"Montgomery Alabama 1846 -1853. Dr. J. Marion Sims (1813-1883) is now known as both “The Father of Gynecology” and “The Father of Vaginal Surgery”. Sims was born in South Carolina and practiced there, in Alabama, New York City, and throughout France. He is widely recognized for laying the foundations for modern gynecology, pioneering the use of surgical steel sutures, and developing several techniques in vaginal surgery. What is less known about Sims is “the fact that many of his accomplishments ….were obtained at the expense and the surgical exploitation of Black women”.
While Sims went to some length to hide his use of slave subjects, featuring white women in anatomy articles and texts, his primary research subjects were three female slaves – Betsy, Lucy, and Anarcha. He operated on each of these women as many as 30 times without anesthesia, believing that blacks did not have the same capacity for pain as whites. Sims even went so far as to purchase Anarcha in order to continue operating on her. In addition, he addicted all these women to opiates in order to facilitate their post-operative recovery and expedite another round of surgeries.
After moving to New York in 1853, Sims continued his exploitation of poor and African American women, exposing them to dangerous experimental surgeries at the Women’s Hospital of New York City. Describing the death of an African American woman after such a surgery, MacGregor (1998) writes:
Because these women were deemed less than human.
They were only animals, and above all, they were property."
their story is one of many echoes from the herstory of slavery, a reflection of the enslavement that exists today, those subjugated and brutalised now our sisters (and brothers) of other nations, other tribes - "because they are deemed less than human... they are only animals, and above all, they are property' ... you can read the full article "commodities and cages" on vine sanctuary's website...