The Strong Black Woman

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How African American Women Repair and Recover from Trauma and Racism

Meet Black women who have learned though hard lessons the importance of self-care and how to break through the cultural and sometimes family resistance to seeking therapy and professional mental health care.


"Black don''t crack". The Strong Black Woman Syndrome is a racist and sexist archetype created to marginalize Black women. It is a toxic ideology that is a major factor contributing to the dismal health metrics for Black women, showing that four out of five are overweight and are more likely to suffer a stroke or heart attack than White women. The syndrome calls on Black women to be the problem-solvers and chief caretakers for everyone in their lives. "Black don''t crack" is a familiar adage. We never buckle, never feel vulnerable, and never bother others with our pain.

Black women face a hidden mental health crisis of anxiety and depression. To be a Black woman in America is to know that you cannot protect your children or guarantee their safety, that your value is consistently questioned, and that 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.

Time to take care of your emotional health. Not because you are "crazy" but because you deserve to be emotionally healthy for yourself and those you love. More and more young African American women are re-examining the Strong Black Woman syndrome and engaging in self-care practices that positively change their lives.

In The Strong Black Woman, hear the stories of African American women who:

Asked for help when they needed it Built lives that offer healing every day Learned to accept that healing-and deserve it If you have read The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health, The Racial Healing Handbook, or Black Fatigue, The Strong Black Woman should be your next read.

Marita Golden, cofounder and president emeritus of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, is a veteran teacher of writing and an acclaimed award-winning author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction. She has served as a member of the faculties of the MFA graduate creative writing programs at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University and in the MA creative writing program at John Hopkins University and has taught writing internationally to a variety of constituencies. She currently lives in Maryland.