Letter to Midwifery Today: Real talk about midwifery and racial oppression

This letter was collaboratively drafted in response to an article posted in Midwifery Today’s E-News on February 13, 2013, comparing the current-day US obstetrical care with chattel slavery and the midwifery movement with the 19th century US abolition movement.

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family affairs by maya angelou

You let down, from arched


Over hand-cut stones of your

Cathedrals, seas of golden hair.

While I, pulled by dusty braids,

Left furrows in the

Sands of African beaches.

Princes and commoners

Climbed over waves to reach

Your vaulted boudoirs,

As the sun, capriciously,

Struck silver fire from waiting

Chains, where I was bound.

My screams never reached

The rare tower where you

Lay, birthing masters for

My sons, and for my

Daughters, a swarm of

Unclean badgers, to consume

Their history.

Tired now of pedestal existence

For fear of flying

And vertigo, you descend

And step lightly over

My centuries of horror

And take my hand,

Smiling, call me


Sister, accept

That I must wait a

While. Allow and age

Of dust to fill

Ruts left on my

Beach in Africa.


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