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Steven J. Niven

midwife and author, was born Onnie Lee Rodgers near Sweet Water in southwest Alabama to Len Rodgers, a farmer and carpenter, and his wife, Martha (maiden name unknown), a midwife and farmer. Like her fifteen siblings and most rural southerners at the time, Onnie Lee was delivered by an African American midwife, in part because of a lack of practicing physicians outside of the South's major urban centers, and also because black granny midwives had traditionally performed this task since slavery times. In addition to her mother, Logan's maternal and paternal grandmothers, as well as one of her brothers-in-law, were also midwives.

At a time when most of her black neighbors struggled to get by as sharecroppers, Onnie Lee Logan recalled that her parents owned their own land a huge plantation on which they raised several types of livestock and grew a wide variety of vegetables as ...

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Steven J. Niven

midwife, was born to Beulah Sanders in Eutaw, Alabama. Perhaps very young, and unable to look after a baby, Beulah Sanders asked a local woman, Margaret Charles, to raise her child, because she had adopted and raised nine others. In her 1996 autobiography Margaret Charles Smith refers to her adoptive mother as both her “mama” and her grandmother, but it is unclear if Mrs. Charles was the biological or the adoptive mother of Beulah Sanders. Margaret Charles had been born in slavery in 1836 and sold to a family in the Alabama black belt for three dollars when she was thirteen Smith never knew who her father was and she never did ask because when she was a child you couldn t say things to old people like children say to old people now cause you got your tail tore up Smith 27 Although her grandmother was ...