By Gertrude Jacinta Fraser

ISBN-10: 0674008529

ISBN-13: 9780674008526

Beginning on the flip of the century, so much African American midwives within the South have been steadily excluded from reproductive healthiness care. Gertrude Fraser exhibits how physicians, public future health group of workers, and kingdom legislators fastened a crusade ostensibly to enhance maternal and boy or girl well-being, specifically in rural components. They introduced conventional midwives below the keep an eye on of a supervisory physique, and finally eradicated them. within the writings and courses produced via those physicians and public healthiness officers, Fraser reveals a universe of principles approximately race, gender, the connection of drugs to society, and the prestige of the South within the nationwide political and social economies. Fraser additionally experiences this adventure via dialogues of reminiscence. She interviews individuals of a rural Virginia African American neighborhood that incorporated not only retired midwives and their descendants, yet a person who lived via this change in clinical care--especially the ladies who gave beginning at domestic attended by way of a midwife. She compares those narrations to these in modern clinical journals and public future health fabrics, getting to know contradictions and ambivalence: used to be the midwife a determine of disgrace or delight? How did one distance oneself from what was once now thought of "superstitious" or "backward" and even as recognize and take pride within the former unquestioned authority of those ideals and practices? In a tremendous contribution to African American experiences and anthropology, African American Midwifery within the South brings new voices to the discourse at the hidden international of midwives and birthing.

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Extra info for African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory

Example text

His medical wish list included the disappearance of blacks from the state (Beardsley 1990, 142–44). These attitudes did not completely block health care on behalf of the state’s African Americans citizens, but they kept services to a minimum, and even those must have been given grudgingly. 3 percent) of white babies were born in the segregated white hospitals. By its association with African American midwives, mothers, and babies, and by its being subsidized, the public health clinic came indelibly to stand for back-of-the-bus care, reserved for African Americans who couldn’t do or didn’t know any better.

It argues that the potential benefits of midwifery education and regulation were never realized until well into the 1950s. From this perspective, the retreat of public health nurses and federal funds left the reproductive field up to midwives who continued to deliver the majority of African American babies in a state of relative ignorance of biomedical techniques and philosophies. Any consequences of Children’s Bureau education were but unconnected vestiges of specific protocols: eye drops, hygiene practices, or greater willingness to refer patients to doctors and hospitals.

So you just pretty soon feel whipped” (1988:92). Even with the high rates of midwife-attended births in the 1930s and 1940s, proponents emphasize the decontextualization of the lines of authority and communal relations that gave midwifery its social power. Numbers, then, do not speak for themselves in this weighting of the historical account. As Linda Holmes succinctly puts it, “supervisory structures . . encouraged dependency and tried shifting authority from the community-empowered midwife to local health departments” (1993, 258).

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African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory by Gertrude Jacinta Fraser


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