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Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story

Overview

"Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama.

Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her.

Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is ...

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Motherwit: An Alabama Midwife's Story

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Overview

"Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama.

Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her.

Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is powerful and fascinating oral history. Motherwit follows her life through her work as a servant for a wealthy Mobile family, her troubled marriage during the Depression, and her struggle to become a licensed midwife. We watch as she delivers the babies of both black and white women of Alabama--losing only one baby in 40 years. Onnie Lee Logan's forbearance in the face of the crushing prejudice of the rural South makes inspiring and unforgettable reading. When she passed away in 1995, the New York Times declared her a "folk hero," and Time called her book "a feminist classic."

Filled with startling drama and profound wisdom, Motherwit is an important contribution to African-American history.

"An amazing story. A heroic woman and life after my own heart." Alice Walker

"To have told her own story, to have borne this eloquent witness to her life is Onnie Lee Logan's final triumph." Ellen Douglas in the Washington Post Book World

"Oral history doesn't come much better than this." Booklist

"Beautiful...her passion rings through in every line." Los Angeles Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A life well lived unfolds in this exuberant, unlettered telling of a midwife's story. Logan, born circa 1910 into a large, rural, God-fearing family in Sweetwater, Ala., recalls how, only a generation removed from slavery, she entered into her life's work. During 40 years she delivered hundreds of babies, mostly to poor white and black mothers in the depths of the Depression, providing help when doctors were either scarce or unwilling. Her oral biography is at once a mini-history of Southern midwifery, essentially a black phenomenon in the region, and a full-circle view of her career from initial toleration to lauded acceptance by medical professionals. In Logan's rich, regional speech as she talks with Clark, who teaches at the University of Alabama, a strong, faith-filled woman is heard; her eloquent memoir is vivid Americana. First serial to Life magazine. (Aug.)
Library Journal
Logan is a black ``granny'' a formally untutored midwife whose oral autobiography has been faithfully transcribed and presented as a history of one woman's considerable efforts to provide safe deliveries for the rural poor and for those desiring home birth in Alabama from approximately 1925 to 1984. Logan tells an interesting story which includes hard work, an abiding faith in God, a deep respect for Afro-American folklore and tradition, and myriad details of the process of midwifery. While the content is fascinating, the many repetitions, half-finished sentences, and idiomatic English make this book difficult to read, though it captures the personality and character of Logan quite well.-- Julie Semkow, Health Sciences Ctr . , SUNY at Brooklyn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611873863
  • Publisher: Untreed Reads Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 687,019
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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