Sims Statue Relocation Sparks Letter-Writing Campaign

The J. Marion Sims statue in its original East Harlem location (Photo by Eden, Janine and Jim, Creative Commons license)

After Brooklyn Paper found earlier this month that the relocation of the statue of J. Marion Sims to Green-Wood Cemetery came at the request of its president, Richard Moylan, borough residents voiced their anger in letters to him. The gynecologist had conducted experiments on Black female slaves, and many want his statue removed altogether.

Colin Mixson reports that “what started as a small group of apoplectic penmen and women quickly ballooned into a full-fledged campaign.”

He included two letters in his story:

“Why would you want to display a monument of torture and racism in our neighborhood?” Park Sloper Joanna Arnow asked Green-Wood Cemetery’s Richard Moylan via e-mail. “Are you a proponent of racism? Or torture? Or you just really like forced medical experiments? I’m so confused.”


“As black women have been saying for years: Sims tortured black women when he performed medical experiments on them without anesthesia or consent,” wrote Michael Madormo. “Why would we celebrate this person?”

How did the president respond? Read parts of his letter at Brooklyn Paper, as well as the divided reaction to his comments from local residents.

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