Motherwit

An Alabama Midwife's Story

This book wasn’t what I expected but was absolutely perfect in what it is. It’s not a story but an oral history. Onnie Lee Logan was one of the last licensed lay midwives in Alabama and this is her story. It is written exactly how Onnie told it, complete with dialect which may throw some people who have never heard a deep southern accent. For example: co’n is corn and sto is store. But, once you figure this out, the story is interesting. Onnie starts sharing her growing up years in the rural south. She discusses racial issues and how it was. Her deep faith in God comes out on every page. This is truly Onnie’s story. While this story may not be to everyone’s taste, it is an awesome piece of history that anyone interested in 20th century US history should read. It’s a great example of human drive as a poor Black woman strives to reach her goals. Onnie’s story isn’t very long. The entire book in well under 100 pages including an introduction and a conclusion written by the woman who compiled Onnie’s stories. The introduction and conclusion shares how this book came about and some of the impact this story has already made. It was released in the mid-90’s but this story is well worth rereleasing. I’d love to see this story shared in schools to make history personal and to come alive because there are so many that don’t remember segregation and how it affected the everyday people; or, life before welfare. From prior to the depression and into the 1980’s, Onnie lived, worked and inspired.


Book Blurb for Motherwit

"Motherwit" and "common sense" were the watchwords of Onnie Lee Logan's career as a lay midwife in Mobile County, Alabama.

Although she received little formal education, endured the Depression and faced a racist society, Onnie Lee Logan experienced her life as the triumphant fulfillment of a dream to be one of those who could bring babies into the world, as her mother and grandmother had done before her.

Her story, told in the soft, now vanishing dialect of the Deep South, is powerful and fascinating oral history. Motherwit follows her life through her work as a servant for a wealthy Mobile family, her troubled marriage during the Depression, and her struggle to become a licensed midwife. We watch as she delivers the babies of both black and white women of Alabama--losing only one baby in 40 years. Onnie Lee Logan's forbearance in the face of the crushing prejudice of the rural South makes inspiring and unforgettable reading. When she passed away in 1995, the New York Times declared her a “folk hero,” and Time called her book “a feminist classic.”

Filled with startling drama and profound wisdom, Motherwit is an important contribution to African-American history.


Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2014 4.50