Multicultural Midwifery History

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Midwives of color narratives (and a film)

Bovard, W. and Milton, G. (1993). Why Not Me? The Story of Gladys Milton, Midwife. Summertown, TN: The Publishing Company.

Buss, Fran Leeper. (1980). La Partera: Story of a Midwife. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. (Story of Jesusita Aragon)

Joseph J, Booker C and Curry-Ibrahim, A. (2012). The Grand Midwives of the USA. Multimedia presentation for the Virtual International Day of the Midwife.

Lee, V. (1996). Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers: Double-Dutched Readings. New York: Routledge.

Logan, Onnie Lee. (1989). Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife’s Story. Mobile, AL: Penguin Books.

Smith, C. and Roberson, M. (2003). My Bag Was Always Packed: The Life and Times of a Virginia Midwife. Bloomington, IN, USA.

Smith, Margaret Charles. (1996). Listen To Me Good: The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife. Ann Arbor, MI: Braun-Brumfield.

Susie, Debra Ann. (1988). In the Way of Our Grandmothers: A cultural View of 20th Century Midwifery in Florida. USA: University of Georgia Press. Narratives of several African-American midwives with some analysis.

Stoney, George, and the Georgia Department of Health. (1952). All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story.   [Documentary film.]

Midwifery and reproduction in communities of color

Slavery era

Fett, Sharla. (2002). Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

(2006). Consciousness and Calling: African American Midwives at Work in the Antebellum South. In New Studies in the History of American Slavery. Eds. Edward E. Baptist and Stephanie M. H. Camp. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Robinson, S. (1984). A historical development of midwifery in the Black community: 1600-1940Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, 29 (4), 247-250.

Schwartz, M. (2006). Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

Tunc, TE. (2010). The mistress, the midwife, and the medical doctor: Pregnancy and childbirth on the plantations of the antebellum American South between 1800-1860. Women’s History Review, 19(3), 395-419

20th century

Bonaparte, Alicia D. (2007). The Persecution and Prosecution of Granny Midwives in South Carolina 1900-1940. Dissertation for PhD in Sociology. Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN.

Champion, JD. (2012). Stories from a Mexican American partera: Life on the Texas-Mexico border. Journal of Trans-cultural Nursing: July 16

Fraser, Gertrude. (1995). “Modern Bodies, Modern Minds: Midwifery and Reproductive Change in an African American Community.” In Conceiving the New World Order, edited by Faye Ginsburg and Rayna Rapp. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Fraser, Gertrude. (1999). African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U Press.

Holmes, Linda. (1986). “African American Midwives in the South.” In The American Way of Birth, Pamela Eakins, ed. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 273-290.

Ladd-Taylor, Molly. (1988). ‘Grannies’ and ‘Spinsters’: Midwife Education under the Sheppard-Towner Act. Journal of Social History 22(2): 255-275.

Smith, Susan. (1999). “White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi.” In Women and Health in America: Historical Readings, ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt. Madison and London: University of Wisconsin Press, 444-458.

Smith, S. (2005). Japanese American Midwives: Culture, Community, and Health Politics, 1880-1950. University of Illinois.

Race and Reproductive and Medical Violence

McGregor, Barbara Kuhn. (1998). From Midwives to Medicine: The Birth of American Gynecology. Rutgers UP. (Chapter 2 focuses on J Marion Sims’ experimentation on three slave women to perfect vaginal fistula repair–and the design of the vaginal speculum)

Roberts, Dorothy. (1995). Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty. New York: Vintage.

Washington, Harriet. (2006). Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. New York: Doubleday.

Bridges, K. (2011). Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Martines, E. (2007). 500 Years of Chicana Women’s History. Rutgers University Press.

History: Woman of color health justice activism

Smith, S. (1995). Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired: Black Women’s Health Activism in America, 1890-1950. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Stillman, J. Fried, M.G., & Ross, L, Gutierrez, E. (2004). Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Contemporary Midwives/Midwifery and Healers of Color

Cook, Katsi. (2002). “Born Into the Hands of Our Own People,” in American Indian Millennium: A Special Edition of Native Americas Journal.

Follett, Joyce. (2005). Interview with Katsi Cook. Voices of Feminism Oral History Project, Smith College.

Gonzales, Patricia. (2012). Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing. U Arizona Press.

Kornelsen J, Kotaska A, Waterfall P, Willie L, & Wilson D. (2010). The geography of belonging: The experience of birthing at home for First Nations women. Health & Place 16, no. 4:638-645.

White, Evelyn and Monroe, Shafia Mawushi. (1994). Lay Midwifery and the Traditional Child-bearing Group. In It Just Ain’t Fair:The Ethics of Health Care for African Americans, Annette Duer and Sara Goering, Eds. Westport, CT: Praeger Press.


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