“Marita Golden’s The Strong Black Woman busts the myth that Black women are fierce and resilient by letting the reader in under the mask that proclaims ‘Black don’t crack.’” ―Karen Arrington, coach, mentor, philanthropist, and author of NAACP Image Award-winning Your Next Level Life
Sarton Women’s Book Award
#1 New Release in Reference
Meet Black women who have learned through hard lessons the importance of self-care and how to break through the cultural and family resistance to seeking therapy and professional mental health care.
The Strong Black Woman Syndrome. For generations, in response to systemic racism, Black women and African American culture created the persona of the Strong Black Woman, a woman who, motivated by service and sacrifice, handles, manages, and overcomes any problem, any obstacle. The syndrome calls on Black women to be the problem-solvers and chief caretakers for everyone in their lives―never buckling, never feeling vulnerable, and never bothering with their pain.
Hidden mental health crisis of anxiety and depression. To be a Black woman in America is to know you cannot protect your children or guarantee their safety, your value is consistently questioned, and even being “twice as good” is often not good enough. Consequently, Black women disproportionately experience anxiety and depression. Studies now conclusively connect racism and mental health―and physical health.
Take care of your emotional health. You deserve to be emotionally healthy for yourself and those you love. More and more young Black women are re-examining the Strong Black Woman syndrome and engaging in self-care practices that change their lives.
Hear stories of Black women who:
- Asked for help
- Built lives that offer healing
- Learned to accept healing
If you have read The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, The Racial Healing Handbook, or Black Fatigue, The Strong Black Woman is your next read.
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About the Author
What People are Saying About This
“If ever there was a book for these times, for Black women, for Black People and for all people of all races and genders, The Strong Black Woman is it. Both painful and hopeful, instructive over that which could be, and all too often is, destructive, Marita Golden provides, in her words, ‘a healing balm’ even for those who believe they have no need.
“Through her own often-painful history and revealing glimpses of other women who have had to work through pain many would find unimaginable, Golden’s journey is along a road that, in the end, is filled with trees bearing fruit of a very special life and lives, thankfully shared by one of our most powerful writers.”
—Charlayne Hunter-Gault, American civil rights activist, journalist, and former foreign correspondent for NPR, CNN, and PBS
“Necessary and relevant, The Strong Black Woman shows the time is now to let go of what no longer serves you. Love—whether it is loving others or yourself—is the most important thing. It is a doorway for compassion, kindness, gratitude and well-being. Marita Golden’s moving personal narrative invites you to step through a new door; to be with yourself, and ultimately, to love yourself in only the way you know how.”
—Bridgitte Jackson-Buckley, blogger, interviewer, memoirist, and author of The Gift of Crisis
“Part poetic meditation, part research-driven journalism, Marita Golden’s The Strong Black Woman examines the issues surrounding Black women’s health and delves into the history of oppression that continues to endanger Black women today. Golden is adept in her prose and delivers a bold, honest, unflinching gaze at the myriad issues impacting Black women. She emboldens her readers to become New Age Strong Black Women who prevail over their history and rise from the ashes of the past with a brave understanding of what it means to be Black and female in the world today. These essays are creative, inventive, and necessary.”
—M.J. Fievre, educator, editor, playwright, and author of the Badass Black Girl series
“Marita Golden’s The Strong Black Woman busts the myth that Black women are fierce and resilient by letting the reader in under the mask that proclaims ‘Black don’t crack.’ Golden shows all the cracks and fissures in a clear, ringing voice that examines a multitude of issues facing Black women today. In revealing what’s really under the mask of strength Black women wear, Golden exposes the vulnerability of Black women, but also manages to forge a new vision of Black femininity that is stronger and more resilient than anyone has imagined. The Strong Black Woman is important to consider when reflecting on the #MeToo era, and should be required reading for anyone who considers herself to be a feminist. It illuminates the present while scouring the past, and points to a future where Black women can be vibrant, healthy, and equally considered members of society.”
—Karen Arrington, coach, mentor, philanthropist, and author of NAACP Image Award-winning Your Next Level Life
“In The Strong Black Woman, Marita shares her own joys and pains and what has made her the literary force we know. Through the art of storytelling and the wisdom garnered through her research we are able to experience the truth, that the strong Black woman is not just a troupe that is the reflection of our trauma, but is the truth of our brilliance. The book does what Marita has always done, use story to offer Black women a reflection of our lives and a way to grow. The Strong Black Woman is as much an act of literary activism as every effort that Marita Golden puts forth. Bravo for writing a book that will long benefit us all.”
—Zelda Lockhart, author of the novel Fifth Born
“The Strong Black Woman shatters the myth and the burden that too many of us have carried for too long while holding up villages and fighting for justice. By the end of the first chapter, I was nearly in tears. I was ready to send the book to my mother, sisters, cousins, nieces, and best friends. The Strong Black Woman gives us explanations for the pain and histories that our mothers couldn’t or wouldn’t tell us, a book that is required reading for every person—Black, White, man, woman, and child—who wants to remain healthy and survive in a world that wants otherwise.”
—DeNeen L. Brown, award-winning writer for The Washington Post and producer of the documentary Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten
“In The Strong Black Woman Marita Golden brings us full circle—to the hard, joy-filled, secret, fragile and fierce spaces within us— to bestow that love, that care and empathy we are known to so readily share, back to ourselves.”
—Erica Vital-Lazare, editor of the McSweeney’s series Of the Diaspora
“Marita Golden may be the 21st Century Harriet Tubman, helping Black women free themselves of the dangerous and devastating consequences of the phrase ‘Strong Black Woman,’ which has enslaved, whipped and weakened us while denying us our basic humanity and opportunities to celebrate, with full abandon, our womanhood.
“Golden has come with this new powerful and transformative book to help us break through, to unmuzzle ourselves, soothe our souls and sing a song filled with joy and victory—to sing our own Freedom Song.”
—jonetta rose barras, author of Whatever Happened to Daddy’s Little Girl?: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women
“Marita Golden’s The Strong Black Woman: How a Myth Endangers the Physical and Mental Health of Black Women outlines just how integral Black women are to America, from leading in the workforce, voter turnout, entrepreneurship and social movements. With all of that on our backs, you’d think more people would realize that Black women aren’t just ‘strong’—we are stressed, and we can’t take on any more.
“Through her own personal health and family history, Golden illustrates to readers in gripping, empathetic detail how racism, sexism, and medical discrimination leave Black women feeling alone while burdening them with the weight of the world. She also highlights other Black women, present and past, who used their experiences to create new, uplifting paths for Black girls and women. Golden asks readers to humanize Black women; we aren't unfeeling superheroes, but women who need to be listened to, supported, and respected. She also leaves them with an important challenge: lighten the load for the Black woman in your life. It’s a challenge that, should it be met, can create a society that benefits all people, especially those who have borne the brunt for centuries.”
—Monique L. Jones, author of The Book of Awesome Black Americans
“In this important book, Marita Golden’s love letter to Black women deconstructs physical and mental damage inflicted by unchallenged mythologizing around the Strong Black Woman. She prescribes self-care, healing and self-empowerment that nurtures the New Age Strong Black Woman so she can confidently blossom. Golden elegantly, yet powerfully, speaks to the unappreciated humanity of Black women in ways that piercingly touch our spirit. We experience her tears as she shares her story and stories of Black women to unpeel layers of complexities, traumas, grief, and closeted taboos, ranging from colorism and obesity to sexual assault. Saying their names and reimagining stories of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and Patrisse Cullors, Golden breathes triumphant humanity into lives of Black women who made Black America matter and made America a better nation. Golden creates a path for all those who heed her call to search for joy.”
—Marilyn Holifield, senior partner at Holland & Knight LLP, co-founder of Miami MoCAAD, and co-author of Seven Sisters and a Brother: Friendship, Resistance, and Untold Truths About Black Student Activism in the 1960s
“I have been waiting for a well-researched and thoughtful book that provides a deep look into the experiences of Black women. Marita Golden gives us that book. A book in which she develops the vision and possibility of a woman who is self-reflective enough, gracious enough, and self-loving enough to heal and be healthy. A book that is a call to arms. A book that will empower any man or woman reading it.”
—Dr. Goldie Byrd, director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University
“I needed this book decades ago—before, as the oldest child, I tried to save all my siblings, before failed marriages and years of avoiding therapy because it was frowned upon in my family and community. The good news is that Marita Golden doesn't hold back in telling us the truth about the price many of us have paid for believing the myth of ‘The Strong Black Woman...’ This book is gonna save some sisters’ lives. Hallelujah!”
—Patrice Gaines, author of Laughing in the Dark
“The Strong Black Woman is simultaneously memoir, meditations, interviews and reimagined conversations. Golden guides readers through history, across varied landscapes—sometimes roughed and dark—and myriad narratives to explain why Black women must divest themselves of the term—or at the very least redefine it.”
—Esther Productions Inc.