“It must be acknowledged that these advancements were made through the exploitation of enslaved women’s bodies…”
Dr. Marion Sims, historically known as the Father of Gynecology, had surgical instruments named after him and monuments erected after he developed gynecologic surgical techniques, specifically vesicovaginal fistula repair.
However, his surgical techniques and instruments were developed on the exploited, enslaved, unanesthetized, bodies of Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, among others, over the course of years, enduring multiple operations each.
We elevate Michelle Browder, artist, and activist, who is transforming Dr. Sim’s property and the previous site of experimentation into a vibrant place of truth, healing, and remembrance.
She purchased the site and has a multi-phase project underway. First, she created a monument to the Mothers of Gynecology with artist, Deborah Shedrick, which is located about 1 mile from the state capitol, where a monument to Dr. Sims still stands today.
This site has already been a gathering place to celebrate Black Birthing in March 2022, and this year will host the Second Annual Day of Reckoning Conference.
The Mothers of Gynecology Monument
Statue celebrates ‘Mothers of Gynecology’ at Black women’s birthing conference
Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey – Second Annual Day of Reckoning Conference
See the link below to read more about this conference
“Let her be born / Let her be born & handled warmly.”
From playwright Ntozake Shange’s work “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide . When the Rainbow is Enuf,” a line Michelle likes to use got her Mothers of Gynecology.
Learn more about the creation of the monument on YouTube.
Additionally, she plans to build The Mothers of Gynecology Health and Wellness Museum and Clinic which will be a place of healing and hope to tell the entire history of gynecology as lived through Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, as well as serve the clinic to those most vulnerable and provide health programming including sex education and doula training.
Now known as the More Up Campus, the site will also include the Creative Changemakers Muesum and a travel center to house and inspire social activism in those on the journey.
Michelle was most recently highlighted in People magazine: read here.
Take a moment to check out her website and her amazing shop to purchase her work and support her efforts. And if you pass through Montgomery, be sure to stop by!
February 28th through March 1st the days between Black History Month and Women’s History Month, ACOG has designated the Days of Recognition to acknowledge Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey.
Learn more and find the link to the memorial lecture on March 1st here:
We encourage you to consider ways in which you will honor the lives of these strong, resilient women.
Lastly, join us in April, during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11th-17th) to commemorate Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, as well as celebrate Black Birthing and remember those we have lost.
We will screen the documentary, Aftershock, and host a community doula panel.
More details to follow!
In the interim check out these important organizations promoting safe birthing and equity!
Black Mamas Matter Alliance
National Birth Equity Collaborative
The National Association to Advance Black Birth – Black Birthing Bill of Rights
Savory, sweet, and vibrant!
Creole Meets Soul: Chef Ronda is committed to crafting signature dishes dashed with some creole flavor and a whole LOT of soul. She works hard to create a platform that exposes the public to her drive to create culinary art and excellence.
Bold Spoon Creamery: Rachel, a consultant by day and confectioner by night, has chosen to follow her passion and create Bold Spoon Creamery with a mission to bring a little scoop of joy to everyone’s day.
Pure Vibes Skincare & Wellness: Effective, Plant-powered skin products formulated by experts to help you achieve clean, healthy, vibrant skin!
The DEIA Committee