Help for Midwives
Original Author: Davis Bottom, printer; Bureau of Child Welfare, State Board of Health, Children's Bureau, Department of Labor
Created: 1924
Medium: Pamphlet cover
Publisher: University of Virginia Special Collections

Help for Midwives

Using an image of Uncle Sam on its cover, a 1924 pamphlet produced by the Virginia Bureau of Child Welfare appeals to the patriotism of the state's midwives in urging them to register every newborn properly, particularly in regards to race. This registration determined whether a person later would have the right to attend a whites-only school and marry a white person. Pamphlets such as this one were part of the effort to protect "whiteness" and prevent the mixing of the races. All birth certificates were required to state the race of the parents, so midwives who recorded that information were targeted by Dr. Walter Plecker, who headed the Bureau of Statistics and was an active agent in policing the color line.