How Her Community's Solidarity Took A Stand Against The "Justice” System

midwife wrapping her kit to go on a call
Via Picryl
Graciella Ye’Tsunami
January 18, 2024

Henrietta Jeffries was a reliable midwife who delivered thousands of babies in Caswell County, North Carolina. 

Unlike white doctors, she didn’t care about the skin color of the women who needed her. She showed up for every birth.

Fighting anti-Black stereotypes and laws policing midwifery, Jeffries continued delivering babies  without a medical license. But many white people complained that  Jeffries was taking business from white doctors

When they learned a few of her patients  died in childbirth, they pounced. Jeffries was put on trial for practicing medicine without a license. She faced death by hanging.

Jeffries testified her only crime was supporting her community, but the all-male, all-white jury still found her guilty. Deafening cries of protest came from the members of Jeffries' community who’d shown up in solidarity. 

Quieting the room, the judge asked how many of the people present Jeffries had delivered . Everyone stood up. The judge overruled the verdict, declaring her not guilty.

Jeffries’ actions remind us that often, in liberation efforts, we have to decide between doing something because it’s “legal” and doing something else because it’s “right.” 

Jeffries’ community proved the power of solidarity is stronger than hatred.

We can’t let anti-Blackness stop us from doing what’s right. Like Jeffries we must show up for our communities.

And we must hold ourselves accountable to stand in solidarity with all efforts working to dismantle anti-Blackness. What issues will you support in our community because it’s the right thing to do?

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: