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Series: S 900 - Florida State Board of Health Subject files, 1875-1975.
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Midwifery in the South, as elsewhere, is a system coming down from our
forefathers. On the old plantations, before obstetricians in air planes became
a reality, the most intelligent of the slave mammies were taken by their masters
to the "big house" to assist with the home making. Their chief duties were to
care for the mother and small children, attendance on the mother in child birth
being expected as a logical part of this service. The confidence manifested
in the black mammies by the "white folks" and the great love shown them by their
small white charges exalted them over the other negroes on the plantation. The
midwives through rather intimate association with the best white families
undoubtedly have been a factor of no mean value in the education of their own
race. Their elimination as midwives must come but this change should be made
with due regard to their standing with their own people. Their obstetrical
knowledge has not kept pace with scientific developments, though in some respects
no doubt they are still superior to their people and to this degree their leader-
ship and counsel should be retained.
I would seriously propose that in removing them from this work they be
duly honored with appropriate services and given in lieu of certificates of
registration certificates of merit, placing them on the inactive list, of course,
but doing it with due appreciation for the service they have rendered, faulty as
it may at times have been, in the past.
Note - These ideas were stolen from Miss Hall and Miss Kly.