Listen to Me Good: The Life Story of an Alabama Midwife

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Ohio State University Press, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 178 pages

Margaret Charles Smith, a ninety-one-year-old Alabama midwife, has thousands of birthing stories to tell. Sifting through nearly five decades of providing care for women in rural Greene County, she relates the tales that capture the life-and-death struggle of the birthing experience and the traditions, pharmacopeia, and spiritual attitudes that influenced her practice. She debunks images of the complacent southern "granny" midwife and honors the determination, talent, and complexity of midwifery.

Fascinating to read, this book is part of the new genre of writing that recognizes the credibility of midwives who have emerged from their own communities and were educated through apprenticeship and personal experience. Past descriptions of southern black midwives have tended to denigrate their work in comparison with professional established medicine. Believed to be the oldest living (though retired) traditional African American midwife in Alabama, Smith is one of the few who can recount old-time birthing ways. Despite claims that midwives contributed to high infant mortality rates, Smith's story emphasizes midwives' successes in facing medical challenges and emergencies.

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wonderfull woman:) remarkable true tale:)

User Review  - tigermom3 - Borders

ms margaret was a african american granny midwife who practiced in a small town untill 1981. she was a wonderfull woman, mother, midwife whose skilled hands and life engery was like the sunshine to ... Read full review

Listen to me good: the life story of an Alabama midwife

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Even in recent times, poor African American women living in the rural South often had no access to healthcare. Local women serving as midwives were an important part of the community; they assisted ... Read full review

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About the author (1996)

Margaret Charles Smith has spoken extensively about her years as a midwife at national midwifery conferences, folk festivals, and women's health programs. In 1985 the Eutaw City Council proclaimed May 11th "Margaret Charles Smith Day," and she became the first black person to receive the keys to the city.

Linda Janet Holmes, a former journalist, currently works for the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services, in Trenton.

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