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White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi, 1920—1950

White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi, 1920—1950 White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi, I920-I950 SusAN L. SMITH Department of History University of Alberta Introduction Black lay midwives were important health workers well beyond their mid­ wifery role in southern rural areas in the first half of the twentieth century. They were part of a black community health network, including ministers, teachers, and a few black nurses and doctors, that provided health educa­ tion and health services to Mrican-Americans. Lay midwives worked pri­ marily with women and children, the key targets of public health work, and they also provided health education to the entire community. Midwives proved to be a vital link between poor Mrican-Americans and health departments. Indeed, the success of official state and county health projects among Mrican-Americans depended on the work of black midwives. In the past few decades, the burgeoning interest among scholars in the study of lay midwives has deepened our understanding of the history of health care in the United States. Much of the literature has focused on native-born whites and European immigrants, although there is a growing body of material about African-American midwives. This article examines the complex relationship between public health nurses and lay midwives in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nursing History Review Springer Publishing

White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi, 1920—1950

Nursing History Review , Volume 2 (1): 21 – Jan 1, 1994

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
1062-8061
eISSN
1938-1913
DOI
10.1891/1062-8061.2.1.29
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

White Nurses, Black Midwives, and Public Health in Mississippi, I920-I950 SusAN L. SMITH Department of History University of Alberta Introduction Black lay midwives were important health workers well beyond their mid­ wifery role in southern rural areas in the first half of the twentieth century. They were part of a black community health network, including ministers, teachers, and a few black nurses and doctors, that provided health educa­ tion and health services to Mrican-Americans. Lay midwives worked pri­ marily with women and children, the key targets of public health work, and they also provided health education to the entire community. Midwives proved to be a vital link between poor Mrican-Americans and health departments. Indeed, the success of official state and county health projects among Mrican-Americans depended on the work of black midwives. In the past few decades, the burgeoning interest among scholars in the study of lay midwives has deepened our understanding of the history of health care in the United States. Much of the literature has focused on native-born whites and European immigrants, although there is a growing body of material about African-American midwives. This article examines the complex relationship between public health nurses and lay midwives in

Journal

Nursing History ReviewSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1994

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