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Sat, Jul 01


Sankofa Video, Books, & Café

Safe in a Midwife's Hands: Birthing Traditions from Africa to the American South

You're invited to a discussion with Linda Janet Holmes on her book Safe in a Midwife's Hands in conversation with Dr. Rochanda Mitchell!

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 Safe in a Midwife's Hands: Birthing Traditions from Africa to the American South
 Safe in a Midwife's Hands: Birthing Traditions from Africa to the American South

Time & Location

Jul 01, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Sankofa Video, Books, & Café, 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA


About The Event

About the book:

A Ms. Magazine "Most Anticipated Feminist Book of 2023"

After a less-than-positive experience giving birth as a Black woman in the 1970s, Linda Janet Holmes launched a lifetime of work as an activist dedicated to learning about and honoring alternative birth traditions and the Black women behind them. Safe in a Midwife's Hands brings together what Holmes has gleaned from the countless midwives who have shared with her their experiences, at a time when their knowledge and holistic approaches are essential counterbalances to a medical system that routinely fails Black mothers and babies. Building on work she began in the 1980s, when she interviewed traditional Black midwives in Alabama and Virginia, Holmes traveled to Ghana, Ethiopia, and Kenya to visit midwives there. In detailing their work, from massage to the uses of medicinal plants to naming ceremonies, she links their voices to those of midwives and doulas in the US. She thus illuminates parallels between birthing traditions that have survived hundreds of years of colonialism, enslavement, Jim Crow, and ongoing medical racism to persist as vital cultural practices that promote healthy outcomes for mothers and babies during pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

About the author:

Linda Janet Holmes is an independent scholar, the former director of New Jersey’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, and a women’s health activist. Her writing—including articles in medical and feminist journals—has contributed to a resurgence of international recognition of the significance of African American midwifery practices. She is the co-author (with Margaret Charles Smith) of Listen to Me Good: The Story of an Alabama Midwife, author of A Joyous Revolt: Toni Cade Bambara, Writer and Activist, and coeditor (with Cheryl A. Wall) of Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara. She lives in Hampton, Virginia.

About the host:

Dr. Rochanda D. Mitchell is a doctor in Washington, District of Columbia, and is affiliated with Howard University Hospital. She received her medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and has been in practice for 11-20 years.

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