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Reclaiming Midwives: Pillars of Community Support

Reclaiming Midwives: Pillars of Community Support

November 13, 2005 – August 6, 2006

Museum: Anacostia Community Museum

Location: Main Gallery

Through photographs, drawings, diary entries, and birthing equipment, this exhibition documents the life and work of Mary Francis Hill Coley in rural Georgia where she provided midwifery care to thousands for 30 years. Working with women, black and white, she was held in high regard in her community for addressing the social and spiritual concerns of those she touched. The exhibition celebrates the role of Miss Coley (1900-1960) and many other midwives as central forces in the communities they served and traces midwife practices from the earliest days of slavery to today. The featured photographers are Robert Galbraith and W. Eugene Smith, both formerly with Life magazine, and Chester Higgins Jr. of The New York Times.

See related article in February 2006 Smithsonian magazine, pp. 33-34


Midwife Mary Francis Hill Coley (1900-1960), bathing newborn Albany, Ga., 1952 Photo courtesy of Robert Galbraith, photographer