Grand Midwives Versus the AMA
African-American communities in the South enjoyed a strong tradition of Grand (or "Granny") Midwives. The lineage of these respected midwives originated in Africa and survived the times of slavery. They were often the sole health care providers for their communities. In the mid-19th century, “regular” physicians, riding the wave of medical professionalization, began to challenge rival practitioners. In Chicago, home of the newly-founded American Medical Association, physicians advocated solving "The Midwife Problem" with legal measures designed to dismantle midwifery practice, disproportionately impacting African-American and foreign-born midwives.