Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-2021

Abstract

An African American midwife was a revered woman who was seen as a wise and knowledgeable person in her respective community, an essential healthcare worker long before the term was ever conceived. For many, a midwife was the only healthcare option for maternity care and would remain so into the mid-20th century, decades after the growing professionalization of the medical field discredited their work. These developments were especially pronounced in progressive-era San Antonio, Texas, where African Americans did not have the option to use a professional healthcare facility. Black women, then, most of whom suffered from poverty and discrimination, were especially dependent on the work of midwives, whose specialized and personalized attention in the maternity sphere of healthcare could not be underestimated in its worth. In San Antonio from 1892-1920, maternity care for black women was supported by skillful and long-serving black midwives, who practiced their trade despite the obstacles created in a segregated society and a newly professionalized healthcare field.

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