CHARLESTON, S.C. — Maude Callen, a Black nurse-midwife, delivered more than 800 infants across the South Carolina Lowcountry starting in the 1920s, when segregation made it difficult for Black people to get medical care.
Although Callen isn’t commonly considered a household name, visitors passing through the new $120 million International African American Museum that opened this week will learn about her work.
The Callen display is a celebration of Black accomplishments in medicine as well as a reminder that racism and history are at the root of today’s health disparities. South Carolina is still one of the most dangerous states for Black mothers, babies and women more than 100-years after Callen started her midwifery.
“We want to constantly cause people to recognize that there isn’t that much distance between past and present,” said Felice Knight, director of education at the new museum, which was more than 20 years in the making.
The galleries are a saga of triumph and trauma. This museum’s location sets it apart from others dedicated to Black history. It is built on Gadsden’s Wharf — where tens of…