After years of community action, including public protests, 26K+ petition signatures, defacement with paint, and a near decapitation, the J. Marion Sims statue is finally coming down! We congratulate everyone involved in this effort!
On Friday, East Harlem Preservation received the following confirmation: “Pursuant to the recommendation of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, NYC Parks will take the next steps towards relocating the statue of J. Marion Sims to Green-Wood Cemetery. To that end, we have submitted a preliminary application to the Public Design Commission (PDC) in advance of their next hearing on April 16. Once we have approval from PDC, we will move forward with relocating the statue later this spring.
“Provided that the Public Design Commission approves of our proposed relocation of the J. Marion Sims statue at Monday’s hearing, we plan to physically relocate the statue on Tuesday, April 17, starting at 8am. We will plan to cordon off room for community stakeholders and the press to observe, for those interested in being present during the removal.”
The Coalition to Remove the Dr. J. Marion Sims Statue, which include elected officials, community leaders, organizations and groups has tentatively scheduled a press conference in front of the statue on Tuesday morning to celebrate the removal of the Dr. J. Marion Sims statue and to urge the NYC Public Design Commission (PDC) to fully honor community concerns by confirming that the engraved pedestal will also be removed. We invite you to be present for this historic moment.
In 2010, East Harlem Preservation began its campaign to remove the monument honoring Sims—a white southern doctor who experimented on enslaved Black women without anesthesia or informed consent. The initiative was inspired by Author Harriet Washington, community activist Viola Plummer, and others who had called attention to Sim’s cruel experiments.
Throughout our campaign, we maintained that the statue’s presence did a great disservice to the neighborhood’s majority Black and Puerto Rican residents—two groups that have specifically been subjected to medical experiments without permission or regard for their wellbeing—and should be removed.
Although the statue’s removal may be a symbolic gesture, it presents an opportunity to continue the dialogue on racism and violence against women of color that we helped initiate. To that end, we encourage you to testify at the NYC Design Commission’s April 16th public hearing and share your thoughts on creating a new artistic vision for the site. Please also join us at an important forum on MONUMENTS AS: History | Art | Power and a Jane’s Walk on May 6th (details below).
Tuesday, April 17th at 8:00 am.
Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, Harlem, New York.
Via East Harlem Preservation, Inc. (EHP)