Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story

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9780452265561: Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story

Recounts the eventful forty-year career of a black woman who pressed her way through the medical world as a midwife, detailing the joys, the dangers, and the everyday experiences of this vanishing profession

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Review:

Born around 1910 in Alabama, Onnie Lee Logan was in her 70s when she reluctantly slowed her lifework as a midwife. In this remarkable, electric oral history of a woman, a time, and a place, she passes on stories of the women whose babies she "caught," unnerving folk remedies for female troubles, and the faith and "motherwit" she drew on as babies made their way toward the world. What little bitterness she shows is aimed at the sorry ways that blacks were treated by whites during much of her life. "I don't remember a single doctor deliverin a black baby at home," she says. "...Cause if they sent for him the baby woulda been there and probably some of em walkin befo' he got there." Interviewer Katherine Clark stitches together the flow of words seamlessly without cleaning them up; Logan comes across as a garrulous old friend rocking on the porch, whiling away a hot afternoon in talk.

From Library Journal:

Logan is a black "granny" (a formally untutored midwife) whose oral autobiography has been faithfully transcribed and presented as a history of one woman's considerable efforts to provide safe deliveries for the rural poor and for those desiring home birth in Alabama from approximately 1925 to 1984. Logan tells an interesting story which includes hard work, an abiding faith in God, a deep respect for Afro-American folklore and tradition, and myriad details of the process of midwifery. While the content is fascinating, the many repetitions, half-finished sentences, and idiomatic English make this book difficult to read, though it captures the personality and character of Logan quite well.
- Julie Semkow, Health Sciences Ctr . , SUNY at Brooklyn
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Logan, Onnie Lee, Clark, Katherine
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