Thursday, February 19, 2009

Maude Callen Part 4: A Baby That Died

Mrs. Callen rushes a fevered baby to the hospital.

As related in Let the Truth Be the Prejudice: W. Eugene Smith: His Life and Photographs:
A mother had brought a seven-month-old child just before supper to Maude Callen's house; the baby had a fever of 104 degrees, and Smith went with Mrs. Callen as she drove the 27 miles to the nearest hospital--which was white. The baby, whose temperature was now 105 degrees, need an immediate transfusion. The two blacks who were present, Mrs. Callen the baby's mother, were the wrong blood type; the right type was available, but it was forbidden to use white blood for a black child; a 'visitor from the North' (he didn't say so in his own account of the incident, but from later evidence one knows it was Smith himself) knew his own blood type, which was identical with the child's. The whtie nurses audibly disapproved. In any case, the child died. Both Mrs. Callen and Smith were 'damnably angry.'"

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

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