NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the statue of a controversial medical doctor moved from prominence next to Central Park to a location by the man’s grave in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.
The status of Dr. James Marion Sims stood on Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street and drew harsh criticism for the doctor’s history of abuse in medical research.
Last year, then-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called for the removal of the statue because Sims, who has been hailed as the father of modern gynecology, allegedly performed operations on slaves without getting their consent or giving them anesthesia.
“Under the guise of medical advancement, they were probed, they were tortured and they were dehumanized,” Mark-Viverito said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the statue was one of several being reviewed by a city commission for possible removal.
The monument came under scrutiny following the deadly white nationalists’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last summer. In August, the statue was vandalized with spray-paint.
According to Monday’s statement from the mayor, Sims’ legacy was noted as “a noted obstetrician and gynecologist whose medical advances were achieved through practice of surgical techniques on enslaved Black women.”
De Blasio also noted a new commission would be created following the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers which made recommendations last year about various figures honored throughout the city.