Family Histories Film Series Concludes with Presentation of “All My Babies”

On September 24, the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program concluded the Family Histories Film Series with a very well-attended screening of “All My Babies: A Midwife’s Own Story.”  “All My Babies” is a training film about midwifery filmed on location in Albany, Georgia in the 1950s.  Written, directed, and produced by George C. Stoney, the film features Mrs. Mary Coley, a midwife with many years of experience, as well as public health doctors and nurses.  The film was chosen by the Library of Congress in 2002 to be placed on the National Film Registry.  “All My Babies” is seminal in that it not only presents a portrait of Miss Mary and her work as a midwife, but it also provides a view into the lives of African-Americans in the rural South in the 50s.  The film was introduced by Dr. Cara Delay and Dr. Sandra Slater, professors in the History Department at the College of Charleston, who also concluded the event with a Q & A.  Delay specializes in the gender and women’s history in Modern Britain and Ireland, and she is conducting research on the reproduction and motherhood in twentieth-century Ireland. Slater is also interested in gender, sexual, and women’s history, particularly as those subjects pertain to seventeenth-century North America.  They pointed out that the film is very much a product of 1950s America, and how that along with the careful, deliberate work of Stoney add to the significance of “All My Babies.”  The great turnout at the event made it a good conclusion to the Family Histories Film Series.