The film The Motherhood Movement- You Say You Want a Revolution captures the first ever international summit on maternal activism. Directed by Joy Rose and produced by The Museum of Motherhood and The Motherhood Foundation, Inc (MFI), the film seeks to promote, showcase and make visible maternal discussion as well as disseminate information on the subject of feminist/ activist mothers and the missions of international maternal agencies.
Over 23 organizations were represented at this historic global summit at the Association For Research on Mothering (ARM) Conference at York University in Toronto, Canada on October 25th and 26th of 2008.
We have documented and preserved presentations, interviews and perspectives on the burgeoning ‘Mom Movement’. Subjects include, but are not limited to: the motherhood movement and its importance in the women’s studies curriculum; activism,; the three feminist “waves”- where have we been, where are we now and where are we going?; feminist mothering; women and mothers in the arts; non-traditional parenting; women and families of color; the poor; the 1950’s to the present in terms of the role of women in the home and in the world; motherhood unpaid; matriarchal and indigenous societies; the role of men and feminist sons; the future of the Museum of Motherhood and the formation of an international motherhood movement.
Dr. Georgia Dwelle, the first Spelman College alumna to attend medical school, established the Dwelle Infirmary in 1920 in Atlanta. It was Georgia’s first general hospital for African Americans, and its first obstetrical hospital for African American women. The infirmary, which also featured a pediatric clinic, was Georgia’s first venereal disease clinic for African Americans, and offered Atlanta’s first “Mother’s Club” for African American women.
Dr. Dwelle faced considerable hardship and discrimination, yet she continued to believe that no profession was better suited to serve humanity than medicine and that “competent women physicians” could find or create their own opportunities within the profession if they had to. Dwelle made this argument in a speech before the Spelman Club of Atlanta in 1940, and again in an interview given to the Spelman Messenger in 1974. She spoke from experience, since her entire career was marked by creating her own opportunities for a career in medicine.
Georgia Rooks Dwelle was born in 1884 in Albany, Georgia, the daughter of a slave who had bought freedom for himself and his mother. Her father was a founder of the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia and served many churches in northern Georgia, eventually becoming a trustee of Spelman Seminary in Atlanta. Georgia attended the Walker Baptist Institute, then the Spelman Seminary, graduating with an A.B. in 1900, finally at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. In order to catch up on premedical training, Georgia had to take extra courses at a nearby university and seek out special tutoring. Her diligence paid off, and she graduated with honors from Meharry in 1904. In fact, when she returned to Augusta and sat for the Georgia State Medical Board examination, she received the highest score that year and was cited for her “unusual ability and thoroughness.”
One of only three African-American women physicians in Georgia at that time, Dr. Dwelle practiced in Augusta for two years before moving setting up an obstetrical and pediatrics practice in Atlanta in 1906. After witnessing the terrible conditions in which many of Atlanta’s poorest black residents lived, she was inspired to establish the Dwelle Infirmary at 14 Boulevard Avenue in northeast Atlanta. With only a few rented rooms and only two beds, it was both the first general hospital for African-Americans in Atlanta and the first “lying-in” obstetrical hospital for African-American women. In 1920, the Dwelle Infirmary was officially incorporated.
“Maria Gaetana Agnesi was born in Milan on May 16, 1718, to a wealthy and literate family” [Osen, 39]. She was the oldest of the 21 children that her father, a rich merchant, had with his three wives. “She was recognized as a child prodigy very early; spoke French by the age of five; and had mastered Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and several modern languages by the age of nine. At her teens, Maria mastered mathematics” [Osen, 40]. The Agnesi home was a gathering place of the most distinguished intellectuals of the day. Maria participated in most of the seminars, engaging with the guests in abstract philosophical and mathematical discussions. Maria was very shy in nature and did not like these meetings. She continued participating in the home gatherings to please her father until the death of her mother. Her mother’s death provided her the excuse to retire from public life. She took over management of the household. It is possible that this heavy duty job was one of the reasons why she never married.
However, she did not give up mathematics yet. In 1738 she published a collection of complex essays on natural science and philosophy called Propositiones Philosophicae, based on the discussions of the intellectuals who gathered at her father’s home. In many of these essays, she expressed her conviction that women should be educated.
By the age of twenty, she began working on her most important work, Analytical Institutions, dealing with differential and integral calculus. “It is said that she started writing Analytical Institutions as a textbook for her brothers, which then grew into a more serious effort” [Osen, 41]. When her work was published in 1748, it caused a sensation in the academic world. It was one of the first and most complete works on finite and infinitesimal analysis. Maria’s great contribution to mathematics with this book was that it brought the works of various mathematicians together in a very systematic way with her own interpretations. The book became a model of clarity, it was widely translated and used as a textbook. [See cover page]
Analytical Institutions gave a clear summary of the state of knowledge in mathematical analysis. The first section of Analytical Institutions deals with the analysis of finite quantities. It also deals with elementary problems of maxima, minima, tangents, and inflection points. The second section discusses the analysis of infinitely small quantities. The third section is about integral calculus and gives a general discussion of the state of the knowledge. The last section deals with the inverse method of tangents and differential equations.
Maria Gaetana Agnesi is best known from the curve called the “Witch of Agnesi” (see illustration from her text Analytical Institutions). Agnesi wrote the equation of this curve in the form y = a*sqrt(a*x-x*x)/x because she considered the x-axis to be the vertical axis and the y-axis to be the horizontal axis [Kennedy]. Reference frames today use x horizontal and y vertical, so the modern form of the curve is given by the Cartesian equation yx2=a2(a-y) or y = a3/(x2 + a2). It is a versed sine curve, originally studied by Fermat. “It was called a versiera, a word derived from the Latin vertere, meaning ‘to turn’, but it was also an abbreviation for the Italian word avversiera, meaning ‘the wife of the devil'” [Osen, 45]. However, when Maria’s text was translated into English the word versiera was confused with “witch”, and the curve came to be known as the witch of Agnesi.
By: Amber Kinser
I have three secrets to surviving full time motherhood and full time employment combined. These secrets will be especially useful in an era that has moved beyond the 40 hour work week. And that would be, of course, the era we’re in. The “full time week” doesn’t mean what it used to; I would love to have a career in which “8-to-5” means something. In which “lunch break” means something. In which “home” means something…like something different from “work,” for starters. But all that changed with internet and cell phones and email. “Telecommuting” is something that few people use as a term but gobs of people use as a mode for living, or should I say gobs of companies use as a source for revenue, since they count on their employees doing email work from home, logging into the company’s system to check on things, trying to get a jump on tomorrow, except of course they don’t get a jump on it because tomorrow brings with it a whole slew of other emails and virtual world issues that have to be jumped into, not to mention all the live, tangible world issues cropping up through the workday. All of this betraying our belief in some fictional boundary that ostensibly separates “home” from “work.”
Balance shmalance I say. She’s a clever one, that. Ever elusive, ever out of reach, ever taunting me when I think I see her peeking out of the window dressings of other people’s lives. I can’t say I’ve ever “found” balance; she’s a slithery one, she is. And all of this points to an urgent need for survival secrets. So I’m here offering mine:
Spray bottle, underwear, and crockpot.
Those are my secrets. Those are what keep me from falling over the edge (or jumping off it). Let me briefly elaborate on one.
First, the spray bottle. I am expected to dress nice for work, professional even. And though I never quite pull off the latter, I do accomplish the former and this is largely b/c of my spray bottle. This miracle of not-very-modern science has rocked my world. I have one hanging up and easily accessible in my closet and one likewise in my bathroom. I take one with me every time I travel. This marvel eliminates the need for ironing my clothes and at the risk of sounding like I would in billion years iron anything I wear anyway, I should say too that it has revived many a crumpled clothing item under my bed or under the shoes and bags that cover my closet floor. I’ve even revived items that made it to the laundry basket and given them one more go round before finally succumbing to having my husband wash them. His laundry skills have improved significantly and my micromanagement skills have decreased significantly, two feats which, when combined, makes for more time for other stuff, at least for me. So to maximize the benefit of secret #1, all you have to do is decide the night before what you’re wearing, pull it from under your bed (or wherever you keep your nice clothes), hang it up and douse it with water spray. By morning it looks nearly ironed and sometimes even nearly clean, which is close enough for me. Now every once in a while an item is made of a fabric that requires more drastic measures. Those I put back under my bed. The spray bottle revives soccer uniforms that we forgot to wash but are nearly clean enough for one more go; it revives cleaned and dried clothes that sat in the dryer since two weekends ago, and permanent press that went through the ringer with the towels. It also gets the pointy shoulders out of shirts that have been hanging since last season, or the crease in pants across the back of our knees that comes from the pants hanger, which you don’t see till you’re walking out of the bathroom and look back for a once-over but no worries—this can be doused as you’re leaving the house and it’ll be nearly dry by the time you get to work. Listen, my toddlers hated being wet on the way to school, but they’ve adjusted. And you can too.
Next week: Secrets 2 and 3