Day Six — Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy

This February, Rachel Cargle is posting a daily prompt on her Instagram feed, a topic to research and reflect on. “Black history is American history. Do the work to learn and honor it.”

Day Six Prompt
Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy

Brief Reflection
Anarcha, Betsy, and Lucy are forever owed the thanks of women across the globe. These three women were slaves who, via their pain, moved forward the science of gynecology, especially a specific surgery for vesicovaginal fistula. Seven more women who remained unnamed were also operated on by Dr. Sims, the man who performed these surgeries without administering anesthesia. Two takeaways: first, 150 years later, Dr. Sims still gets much of the solo credit for his research and second, there is still an assumption about black people not feeling pain the same way as other patients in the modern medical community.