Thank you MANA| Celebrate Black History Month, Week Two, with MANA!

Celebrating Black Midwives This Month! Featuring a traditional midwife from our past and one from the present:

Traditional Midwife Mary Francis Hill Coley (Miss Mary) Mary Francis Hill Coley (8-15-1900 to 3-8-1966) was born in a Georgia where women were often treated as less than equal citizens, and where, for poor and black women, the struggle was compounded. With little, if any, formal schooling, she became an accomplished and recognized midwife, an advocate for health care who saw no racial barriers as documented in the award winning film, All My Babies, in 1952. Learn more about her on the websites below:

Georgia Women of Achievement

All My Babies (Preview)

All My Babies: A Midwifes Own Story

 Racha Tahani Lawler, CPM, LM Racha is the granddaughter and great-granddaughter, great niece, and second cousin of midwives. After being

 in attendance of her cousin’s home birth right out of her teens, she immediately answered her call to midwifery. While working as a nurse assistant at a local hospital in the women’s wing, she was privileged and honored to train with a community midwife as an apprentice. Racha moved to El Paso, Texas, where she began a formal midwifery education at Maternidad La Luz. Upon graduation she sat for and passed the NARM exam in 2004 and became a Certified Professional Midwife and Texas Licensed Midwife. She began her first midwifery practice with the support of local midwives and a local OBGYN. She attended over 400 births in five years in El Paso. Racha returned home to California, completed the California Challenge Process, and earned her California Midwifery License in 2008. With the help of family, friends, and countless supporters, she has recently opened The Community Birth Center, a freestanding birth center in South Los Angeles that provides well-woman, pre-conception, prenatal, labor/birth, and postpartum care to families. She is committed to providing midwifery care to all who seek it regardless of race, socio-economic status, or gender. Her passion is to aid in the great maternal child health disparities seen with women of color. Racha gave birth to all three of her children post dates at home in the water, and they have attended upwards of 100 births in their own right. Her mission is to “Grow our community, one baby at a time” in reducing prematurity rates in women of color and infant deaths. She is currently guiding three student midwives in their journey as they work towards licensure. 

 

For more enrichment about black history and midwives we have a few recommended reads:

  • Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife’s Storyby Onnie Lee & Katherine Clark Logan
  • Granny Midwives and Black Women Writersby Valerie Lee
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Libertyby Dorothy Roberts
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

 ~Darynée Blount, MOC Section Representative

3 comments

  1. Hi there,

    My wife and I are desperately seeking a Black Midwife in Southern CA (Los Angeles & surrounding cities). Does anyone have any referrals or birthing center recommendations? We have looked almost everywhere.

    Best,
    Charles

  2. Women can unite and change disparities in health care deliver. We birth our babies and support other women in birthing – let’s birth a solution to infant mortality rates among women of color. Gerri L. Ryan, LM, CPM

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