Her Work Saved Thousands Of Rural Black Mothers And Infants

Infant child held by 2 sets of hands
Leslie Taylor- Grover
November 12, 2021

The adults stood chatting while the little girl sat quietly outside. The midwife was amazed. Margaret Charles may have only been five years old, but she had done something unbelievable!

She delivered, or “caught,” a baby without the help of any adults! By the time the midwife arrived to help the mother, the baby had been born and the mother was resting peacefully. One thing was certain: this five-year-old girl had an anointing. But that’s just the beginning of the story of this fascinating rural Alabama woman.

Charles went on to become one of the most amazing Black midwives in history. During her tenure, she delivered over 3,500 babies and NONE of the mothers died. There was only one reason she stopped helping Black mothers.

Midwifery became illegal! Delivering babies became dominated by white male doctors. Countless Black women and infants died as a result of this change. Today midwifery is gaining acceptance again, but Black mothers STILL die far too often and much more than other races. Why?

Because of the disparities Black women face from a white medical system. Charles’ ability to save lives is part of our rich tradition of caring for one another through the field of midwifery – whether accepted by a white-dominated system or not. Black mothers, midwives, and infants matter!

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