Abstract

summary:

Set in rural Georgia, the 1953 health film All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story was a government-sponsored project intended as a training tool for midwives. The film was unique to feature a black midwife and a live birth at a time when southern health officials blamed midwives for the region’s infant mortality rates. Produced by the young filmmaker George Stoney, All My Babies was praised for its educational value and, as this article demonstrates, was a popular feature in postwar medical education. Yet as it drew acclaim, the film also sparked debates within and beyond medical settings concerning its portrayal of midwifery, birth, and health care for African Americans. In tracing the controversies over the film’s messages and representations, this article argues that All My Babies exemplified the power and limits of health films to address the complexities of race and health during an era of Jim Crow segregation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3176
Print ISSN
0007-5140
Pages
pp. 82-113
Launched on MUSE
2019-04-04
Open Access
No
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