Midwives, women healers and root workers have been central figures in the African American folk traditions. Particularly in Black communities in the rural south, these women served vital social, cultural and political functions. It was believed that they possessed magical powers: they negotiated the barrier between life and death and were often regarded as the "knower" in a community. Today even as medical science has discredited or superseded their power, granny midwives have resurfaced as pivotal characters in the narratives of contemporary African American literature.
Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers examines the lives of real granny midwives and other healers--through oral narratives, ethnographic research and documentation--and considers them in tandem with their fictional counterparts in the work of Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker and others.
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Valerie Lee is Associate Professor of English and Women's Studies at Ohio State University.Review:
...offers fresh insight into the rich cultural and intellectual heritage of African-American women. -- Journal of Women's History
...high quality tools of transformation. ...compel readers to let the transformation of silence begin. -- NWSA Journal
[This book] is a fascinating look at the practice of midwifery both as a medical profession and as an evolving cultural icon in the literature of African American women. -- Modern Fiction Studies
Health and Sexuality
This is a highly readable book which stresses the calling which these women experienced to serve poor women, both black and white. Their moral power which is protrayed in fiction is set alongside a fascinating interview with one fo the last remaining Grannies in the final chapter. -- Fawcett Library Newsletter
Lee...has done her homework, and many portions of her book are quite powerful. -- Emerge Magazine
Lee's analysis is mindful, affective, even nurturing. All's we have to do is lean in close and listen.-- Vibe, May 1997
Clearly presented and accessible, Granny Midwives and Black Women Writers provides a different spin to folklore/literary studies. -- Journal of Folklore Research
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Book Description Routledge, 1996. Book Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP93248076