“There are a lot of traditional birthing customs that were lost throughout the years. Not only did we lose a part of our culture during slavery, but we lost a lot when our foremothers, grandmothers, and our great grandmothers started having their babies in the hospital. The mother wit that would normally be passed down discontinued because our grandmothers, forced with spinal taps or twilight, no longer had a story to tell.” - Iya Sarahn Henderson
Legacy Power Voice: Movements in Black Midwifery is an intimate three-part documentary that explores the evolution of Black birthing traditions in America. With a particular lens on Georgia and Florida, states where Black midwives have flourished despite immense repression, these intimate portraits capture the racial, political and cultural contexts that have shaped movements for Birth Justice.
Part One, Legacy
The docuseries is comprised of three parts. In part one, Legacy, we explore the lives and career history of the Grand Midwives of Georgia, gaining honored access to the rich herstory of Black Midwifery through their life experiences, testimonies, and evidence-based practices. Grand Midwives possess first-hand accounts of movements in the field, memories of their predecessors, Ancestor Midwives, as well as the wisdom of the ages to teach the next generation of Black Midwives. Their methods, philosophy and cultural knowledge connect us to the traditions of Africa and indigenous people around the world.
As we weave through the streets and communities of Atlanta, Georgia, we experience the stories of six Grand Midwives: Mama Nyasha, Nana Siti, Umm Salaamah, Mama Sarahn, Mama Nasrah (Osun) and Mama Marsha. Their lives and work bear witness to the ancestral magic of midwifery care and the evolution of Black birthing culture.
Part Two, Power
In the second part of the series, we investigate the ways in which the legacy of Black Midwifery has impacted and empowered the practices of midwives in Florida. Florida is home to the largest concentration of direct-entry Black Midwives in the United States and is a powerhouse of legislative action and advocacy. It’s also the archetype of Black-owned birth centers and private practices. All these factors put Florida on the map for gold standards in midwifery movements.
Licensed Midwives in Florida share narratives that paint the regional landscape, charting the course of present-day midwifery through triumphs and challenges and holistic models of care that have gained national recognition. We will learn how Florida midwives have harnessed collective power to overcome barriers to entry and improve outcomes in maternal health.
Part Three, Voice
In the third and final part of Legacy Power Voice, we dig deep into the practice of one Black Midwife whose commitment and service to her community resulted in the Trailblazer Award for social justice and a day named after her in the city of Miami. Jamarah Amani is the Executive Director of the Southern Birth Justice Network, the parent organization of the National Black Midwives Alliance. She has a voice that is highly sought after and has appeared before Congress, the United Nations, and spoken to several news outlets, universities, community groups and at local, national and international midwifery conferences.
Jamarah’s fierce advocacy has brought awareness to the health and power disparities impacting Black families and the institutional racism plaguing the field of obstetrics. Her dedication to make holistic midwifery and doula care more accessible to all has come at great personal and professional sacrifice, but she tirelessly perseveres on a mission to increase the numbers of Black midwives and doulas and to improve the lives of Black families through Birth Justice.