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The Black Women's Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves

The Black Women's Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves

by White Evelyn C.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This volume contains a collection of 41 writings by and for black women about health--physical, emotional and psychological. The contents range from personal essays on how to deal with high blood pressure and memories of incest to a poem posing the question ``Have you ever considered suicide?'' There are also interviews with midwives and community health advocates, as well as journal passages detailing the challenges of living with lupus. Edited by White ( Chain Chain Change: For Black Women Dealing with Physical and Emotional Abuse ), the book covers the vast spectrum of the black woman's health experience as patient, healer and witness. On becoming a physician, for instance, Vanessa Northington Gamble writes that she pursued this dream in the face of the twin obstacles of race and gender: ``I had to face the fact that not everyone believed that a black woman could be or was qualified.'' She herself was told by a student and colleague ``that I would gain admission not because I had excelled in college, but because I would fit the affirmative action plan.'' By contrast, the novelist Alice Walker describes the discomfort, shame and pain she has felt from a nonracial affliction--her blind eye, ``bluish, a little battered-looking but full of light, with whitish clouds swirling around it.'' She recalls how her daughter asked one day, ``Mommy, where did you get that world in your eye?'' The question, like the collection itself, assembled from a disparate yet connected group of women, proves that words, as well as deeds, have the power to heal. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
YA-First published in 1990 to rave reviews, this revised edition has been expanded to include 11 additional essays. Contributors include such notables as Zora Neale Hurston, Lucille Clifton, Marian Wright Edelman, bell hooks, and Toni Morrison. Topics include suicide, midwives, the politics of black women's health, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and a host of others. Much of the material is written from a personal point of view, and all of the authors passionately express their particular concerns. Although most of the selections are essays, there are some interesting variations. Audre Lorde opens her diary to share her courageous battle with cancer. Zora Neale Hurston presents a list of root prescriptions handed down through the generations. A poem by Lucille Clifton is included. Linda Janet Holmes's article on midwives is in anecdotal format, making it very fresh and immediate. Besides the original essays, this 1994 anthology has articles on skin color, HIV infection, menopause, etc. It's a marvelous collection.-Pat Royal, Crossland High School, Camp Springs, MD
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
Not just for African-America women, these stories are for all of us who are "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Through essays, interviews and anecdotes told in a manner reminscent of the African-American spiritual tradition of calling forth the faithful to give testimony, the voices are women, both known and unknown, ring out on issues affecting our well-being. There are stories of triumph over chronic disease; of learning anew to trust ourselves; and on understanding the political implications of poor healthcare as a means of oppression. The issues covered, from teenage pregnancy to lupus to the epidemic of AIDS and increased drug abuse, are as diverse as the stress we carry each day. These are real voices of experience that offer the reinforcement and wisdom we all need to better understand our career choices, family pressures and society's indifference, and how each impacts our health and the quality of our lives. This is a wake-up call for women to be more knowledgeable and proactive in seeking care for ourselves. The words here can give power to the survival of all women.
—Annette M. Anderson

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Avalon Publishing Group
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