Summer Scholars Spotlight

by mlreynolds on July 15, 2022

Ivey Kline is a history major with an interest in American history and archival research.  She has worked for the Roanoke College Archives and the Center for Studying Structures of Race for three years and spent the summer of 2021 carrying out extensive archival research.  At the Center, she helped create and launch the Genealogy of Slavery Project, a project dedicated to uncovering information about the enslaved people in Roanoke County who built Roanoke College.  Additionally, she processed collections for the Maurice Berger Memorial Archive and Library and interned at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage working on the festival curatorial team for the 2022 and 2023 Folklife Festival.  She is also president of Historical Society.

This summer, Ivey is working with Dr. Jesse Bucher on the project “The Legacy of Georgianna Saunders: Race, Gender, and Black Midwifery in Southwest Virginia, 1914-1940.” Georgianna Saunders is one of the most important and yet unknown figures in Salem, Virginia history. Born in 1866, Saunders was a member of the first generation of African Americans born to previously enslaved parents after the abolition of slavery.  From 1914 to 1940, Georgianna Saunders kept extensive birth records that provide insight into her work as a midwife.  During this Summer Scholars project, Ivey has been analyzing the records Saunders kept in her birth records notebooks and evaluating the segregation of medicine, importance of Black lay midwives, and the demographics of the poor, Black and White women Saunders aided. This project will fill an important scholarly deficit regarding Black midwives since most scholarly work regarding birth work focuses on White midwives or male doctors inventing obstetrics. 

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