Historical Perspectives On Contemporary Issues
Black Maternal Health: Historical and Reproductive Justice Reckonings
A forum held online in collaboration with the New York Academy of Medicine on October 1, 2020.
In this timely and thought-provoking presentation, Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Dr. Lynn Roberts (CUNY) discuss how slavery and the history of reproductive medicine intersect, the impact of medical racism on Black birthing people, the national reproductive justice movement, and recent efforts to address racial inequalities in maternal mortality and morbidity in New York City.
Chanel Portia-Albert, Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Ancient Song Doula Services, moderated this event, and singer/songwriter, actress, poet, educator, and writer Lacresha Berry provided an artistic performance at intermission.
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Insights from the Collections
The Consortium's collections provide many opportunities to learn more about the history of reproductive medicine, maternal morbidity and mortality, and racial inequities in science and medicine.
Our cross-institutional search tool allows researchers to investigate materials across multiple institutions from a single interface. With more than 4.4 million catalog records of rare books and manuscripts, the Consortium's search hub offers scholars and the public the ability to identify and locate relevant materials.
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Some archival materials related to this topic include:
Building the Case for Environmental and Reproductive Justice in the Bronx, New York Academy of Medicine
The Story of My Life, by J. Marion Sims, New York Academy of Medicine
Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) Records, University of Pennsylvania
Women's Health Concerns Committee Records, University of Pennsylvania
Physicians Forum Collection, University of Pennsylvania
Bert Hansen Collection of Sigerist Circle Material, University of Pennsylvania
Related publications from our speakers:
Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, by Deirdre Cooper Owens; Georgia, 2017.
Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique, edited by Loretta J. Ross, Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, and Pamela Bridgewater Toure; Feminist Press, 2017.
See also recent work from our fellows:
The Peculiar Institution and the Making of Modern Psychiatry, 1840-1880, by Wendy Gonaver; UNC, 2019.
Treating the Black Body: Race and Medicine in American Culture, 1800-1861, Christopher Willoughby