Date of Award

Summer 7-1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Honors College



First Advisor

Dr. Clyde Robertson

Second Advisor

Dr. Joyce W. O'Rourke

Third Advisor

Dr. Beverly Wade


The purpose of this thesis is to give insight into the role played by the African American midwife in the rural south, including Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Florida. The African American midwife was responsible for prenatal care, delivery, and a certain degree of postnatal care for the mother and the infant. During slavery, she was all that the slaves had. The African American midwife also aided in delivery of some of the whites as well in a time when blacks were considered to be no more than animals. This proves that the African American midwife was more than a savage delivering babies for her peers. She was respected and considered as highly capable of performing her duties since she received an amount of education from white physicians. After the Civil War and subsequent end of slavery, the African American midwife continued to play a crucial role in health care of African Americans in the segregated rural south. She was able to provide them with a level of health care that they otherwise would have been deprived of. By desegregation, the role of the African American midwife became obsolete. Since African Americans were able to enter hospitals, be seen by white physicians, and become physicians themselves, there was less need for the African American midwife.

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