Artist Michelle Browder Is Soon to Open A Museum and Clinic in Honor of The “Mothers of Gynecology”

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By Alexandra Jane, The Root

Browder’s clinic will also showcase a new mural depicting empowered versions of mothers Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey.

Browser’s Mothers of Gynecology monument was inspired by enslaved women Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey. (Andi Rice for The Washington Post/Getty Images)

After unveiling her groundbreaking monument last Mother’s Day, artist Michelle Browder is expanding upon her work around the “Mothers of Gynecology,” with the opening of a museum and clinic built in their honor.

At 18 years old as a student in Atlanta, Browder came across a 1952 painting of J. Marion Sims, a man considered to be the “Father of Gynecology” — given this moniker for the horrendous experiments he conducted on Black women to support his research. After conducting research of her own, young Browder learned that the three women depicted in the painting alongside Sims were named Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey.

“They were girls, just a year maybe younger than me at the time,” said Browder, 51, of the three women, PEOPLE reports. “The look on their faces, I was troubled so bad.”

She later dubbed the women as the “Mothers of Gynecology.”

“It was a crime against humanity,” the Alabama native said of Sims’ experiments on his patients. “Often these girls would have to hold each other down. Lucy had 12 surgeries and it nearly killed her — there are reports of her screaming in pain.”

[…]

Now, Browder continues to honor the sacrifices made by these women with the opening of the $5.5 million dollar Mothers of Gynecology Health and Wellness Clinic. According to PEOPLE, the space will also host a museum that educates visitors about the mothers, and will also train doulas and midwives.

Learn more about Browder’s work and plans.

Sims is a controversial topic whose work was covered in the book Medical Apartheid. In 2018, a statue honoring Sims was removed from Central Park.

More Black history news.

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