LEFT: Dr. Isabel DuMont and Joan Mulder spent their lives bringing health care to the poor in Selma, Alabama.
RIGHT: Dr. Dumont examining the throat of a sick child.
"Delivering Babies By Candlelight"
Dr. Isabel Dumont and Joan Mulder, a medical technologist, spent more than half their lives providing health care to the poor in west central Alabama. They arrived in Selma in 1944 – when there was no hospital for African-Americans there – and set up their first clinic in a former beer hall. One by one, they gained the trust of the community, and soon they were making house calls and delivering babies by candlelight. They became instrumental in setting up rural clinics, and they established an Alcoholics Anonymous chapter and a youth scholarship program in Selma.
When Dr. Dumont died in 1985, an African-American soldier who had grown up in Selma flew in from Hawaii to attend her funeral. He had considered her a second mother. Mulder died in 1986 and was buried next to Dr. Dumont in an African-American cemetery outside of Selma. Being laid to rest in an African-American cemetery was a remarkable testament to the bridges these women built in the community they served.
Postscript: As noted, Dr. Isabel Dumont died in 1985, and Joan Mulder died in 1986.