The first Black midwives on American soil were African people who brought with them traditional knowledge, beliefs, ideas, rituals, tools, approaches, and methods that existed in Africa for thousands of years.
Ancient birth practices and rituals were passed down from generations to generations through a calling to midwifery. A nationally recognized Black Midwives Day venerates the work and contributions of past and present birth attendants who have served to usher in new life despite a history fraught with persecution, enslavement, violence, racism and the systematic erasure of community Black midwives throughout the 20th century.
The resurgence of Black midwifery is a testament to the resilience, resistance, and determination of spirit in the preservation of healing modalities that are practiced all over the world. The focus on holistic care, which involves caring for the whole person, family and community, is what makes a difference in midwifery. It honors a birthing person’s right to bodily autonomy; can be facilitated at home, in a birth center, or hospital; and works in tandem with doulas, community health workers, obstetricians, pediatricians, and other health care providers.
Black families need access to Black midwives to receive culturally sensitive and congruent care established through trust and respect; backed with the wisdom of time honored technique and best practices.
NBMA is campaigning for a Black Midwives Day:
1) To strengthen the base of Black midwives and their supporters
2) To preserve the cultural history of Black midwifery as an important part of the story of America
3) To provide advocacy tools that eliminate barriers to education and resources for Black midwives
4) To build power by developing a national unified voice that advocates for Black midwifery
5) To address perinatal health disparities that impact Black communities
6) To elevate the consumer demand for access to midwifery and community birth.
Ways to support:
Show your support by signing the Black Midwives Day petition on change.org
Remember to add your thoughts, comments, suggestions and reflections.
Donate to NBMA
Tag a Black midwife or Black student midwife and let them know you appreciate them.
We passed our $10,000 Black Student Midwife Scholarship Fund goal on 2/19/22, which was then matched by a donor, bringing our fundraising total to: $21,504.93. Thank you to everyone who donated!
We are now focusing on sustaining the growth of this fund so that we can offer scholarships beyond the first year. If you would like to support this effort, we are still welcoming donations.
Legacy Power Voice: Movements in Black Midwifery is an intimate three-part documentary that explores the evolution of Black birthing traditions in America.
The Legacy Power Voice (LPV) docu-series will feature the first-hand accounts and testimonies of midwives in Georgia, Florida and beyond. The project underscores the imperative of passing down the traditions; cultural and spiritual technology of our Ancestors that have shown to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. It highlights our hope to bring Black birthing people back into the care of Black midwives and to center birthing people in full spectrum reproductive health care and home birth options.
LPV is a labor of love firmly rooted in grassroots efforts. The project sprouted to life when NBMA co-founders and first-time producers Haguerenesh Tesfa and Jamarah Amani partnered with Producer/Director Karyl-Lyn Sanderson to chronicle and explore movements in Black midwifery. The 2020 global pandemic and Black uprisings for liberation inspired this team to preserve the rich herstory of our Grand midwives, their predecessors and proteges keeping alive the traditions of our heritage.
VA HB1817 /2021 will grant Certified Nurse-Midwives license to practice in accordance with regulations by the Joint Boards of Nursing and Medicine and the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery by the American College of Nurse-Midwives. For more info, see our post about the bill:
A bill to establish regulation of community midwives.
This article highlights the critical and historical role of Black midwives for the families of Georgia:
Follow the bill here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/59434
A bill to establish licensure for Certified Professional Midwives:
Postpartum Medicaid extension to one year: https://www.jacksonville.com/story/opinion/2021/02/03/guest-column-florida-needs-reduce-maternal-mortality/4356247001/
As medical personnel across the country prepared an emergency response to the global pandemic in 2020, NBMA partnered with Everyday Birth Magazine and raised funds to ship free PPE kits to practicing Black midwives. We have sent PPE kits to more than 100 Black midwives so far. Recipients enjoyed:
1 pair of washable shoe covers
1 KN95 mask
1 cloth mask
3 paper bags to store masks for reuse
1 long sleeve rain poncho for PPE
1 pair of sterile gloves
1 3oz hand sanitizer
1 face shield