The Black Women's Health Book: Speaking for Ourselves

Evelyn C. White, Editor
Evelyn C. White, Editor Seal Press (CA) $14.95 (301p) ISBN 978-0-931188-86-2
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
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.)
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