Although a British-trained nurse-midwife, Jenny M. Luke writes from the perspective of a historian to reveal the extraordinary work performed by African American midwives in the twentieth-century South. Her book is the result of many years of research culminating in her tenure as a Reynolds-Finley Research Fellow in 2017. Luke’s essay “Lessons from Midwifery,” about the Alabama midwife Margaret Charles Smith, features in the collection Alabama Women: Their Lives and Times, edited by Susan Youngblood Ashmore and Lisa Lindquist Dorr, and published by the University of Georgia Press, 2017. It is the recent recipient of the James F. Sulzby Book Award in recognition of its contribution to the understanding and appreciation of Alabama history.
Her interest in the history of midwifery was piqued many years ago when she arrived in the U.S. and discovered a great difference in the perception of midwifery between Britons and Americans; however, it was as a student of American history and the impact of race, gender, and class on maternity care that she became fascinated by the subject.
Jenny M. Luke lives with her husband in North Texas. They have two grown children.