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

By Gertrude Jacinta Fraser

Beginning on the flip of the century, so much African American midwives within the South have been steadily excluded from reproductive wellbeing and fitness care. Gertrude Fraser exhibits how physicians, public health and wellbeing group of workers, and nation legislators fixed a crusade ostensibly to enhance maternal and youngster wellbeing and fitness, particularly in rural components. They introduced conventional midwives less than the keep an eye on of a supervisory physique, and finally eradicated them. within the writings and courses produced by means of those physicians and public wellbeing and fitness officers, Fraser reveals a universe of rules approximately race, gender, the connection of drugs to society, and the prestige of the South within the nationwide political and social economies. Fraser additionally stories this adventure via dialogues of reminiscence. She interviews participants of a rural Virginia African American group that incorporated not only retired midwives and their descendants, yet a person who lived via this alteration in scientific 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 well-being fabrics, gaining knowledge of contradictions and ambivalence: was once the midwife a determine of disgrace or satisfaction? How did one distance oneself from what was once now thought of "superstitious" or "backward" and while recognize and take pride within the former unquestioned authority of those ideals and practices? In a major contribution to African American stories and anthropology, African American Midwifery within the South brings new voices to the discourse at the hidden global of midwives and birthing.

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Additional resources for African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory

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To a great extent,” they write, “talk about the body . . tends to be talk about the nature of society” (1987, 20). When, for example, a physician blamed African Americans for jacking up the rate of maternal deaths by virtue of their presence in his state, he was expressing the view that the black body was symbolic of decay and disease. His vision of a more perfect polity would not include such bodies, and no amount of health care could change African American women’s degraded place in the state.

Tends to be talk about the nature of society” (1987, 20). When, for example, a physician blamed African Americans for jacking up the rate of maternal deaths by virtue of their presence in his state, he was expressing the view that the black body was symbolic of decay and disease. His vision of a more perfect polity would not include such bodies, and no amount of health care could change African American women’s degraded place in the state. Better to allow them to die out. Other chapters will take up the analysis of lived experience and the social body.

W. A. Plecker, The physician and local health officer who directed the Elizabeth City County midwife program and who was later appointed the state’s first registrar, hoped to develop a standardized means of regulating midwives and keeping track of birth and infant mortality rates . A self-described country doctor, Plecker opined on the overall unsuitability of midwives but admitted that “as far as we can see into the immediate future [the midwife problem] is with us to stay” (1925, 809–811). On the whole, however, southern public health proceeded in fits and starts.

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