We want to familiarize you with these names. We want people to say their names.
These enslaved women were used by a male doctor to perfect the repair of fistulas. This doctor was also the inventor of the vaginal speculum (notice we choose not to name him in this post). He had no specific gynecological training yet in 1845 he began experimenting with surgical techniques, without anesthesia, on enslaved Black women. These women screamed in pain, became ill with infections and were treated as property. Anarcha had 30 documented surgeries over a four year period. Later, once his methods were perfected, he went on to treat white women, using anesthesia.
Statues have been erected in honor of this man. Some have been taken down, some still stand. He has been coined the “Father of Modern Gynecology”.
We want to honor the Black Women who we consider the real heroes. They endured so much and they are the ones who deserve their names to be known.
Please join us in a a deep bow of gratitude to Lucy, Anarcha and Betsey as well as all of the undocumented women who's bodies were used for research.