Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maude Callen Part 5: "In the Desperate Need of the Countryside"

Mrs. Callen helps bring someone into the clinic she had set up in her home.

Mrs. Callen in a temporary clinic in the church.

From Let Truth Be the Prejudice: W. Eugene Smith: His Life and Photographs:
The midwife, Maude Callen, was orphaned at seven and raised by an uncle in Tallahassee, Floria, who was a doctor. She married and went to South Carolina, where, at the request of the Episcopalian Church, she became a missionary nurse--converting the country people of rural Berkeley County into what the missionaries called 'iodine Christians' Mrs. Callen moved into a neglected area and set up a clinic in her own home. The image most people had when they saw the full story in Life was that Maude Callen was a heroine sprung up like Joan of Arc, from deep among her oppressed people; but she was a middle-class black girl, raised by an uncle of professional standing, who was shocked to find such ignorance and such needless suffering. Later, she was trained in obstetrics at Tuskegee; but in the desperate need in the countryside, and with a 'quiet passive aggressiveness,' she actually practiced medicine and established the first V.D. clinic and the first pre-natal clinic in the county. But her money was scant, her equipment meager, the pressure of work immense. Yet should would find time to intercede for her patients with the County Relief, and even with the Sheriff himself.

Mrs. Callen visiting the home of this crippled child. She interceded with the County Relief people to get the child placed in a summer camp for handicapped children.

Mrs. Callen talks to the sister of a tuberculosis patient on how he needs to be moved to a county sanitarium.

Mrs. Callen examines the throat glands of a sick boy.

Maude Callen Part 1
Maude Callen Part 2
Maude Callen Part 3
Maude Callen Part 4


Anonymous said...

i am currently writing a piece on black midwives and i truly appreciate the time and effort you put into this post. thank you so much. :-)

Victoria Middleton said...

Linda, I am. Maude Middleton , Mrs Callen was my Godmother. My mother was trained by her and we were all very close. I would visit Mrs Callen , when i came home from college. She was a woman of great Faith and a Civil Rights leader as well. Victoria Middleton is my mom, I was just emailing Sam Stephenson who cover Eugene Smiths photo essay of Mrs. Callen, some the pictures you have in your blog.