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12 Powerful Books That Center Black Women’s Health

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If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Black History all year long, vote with your wallet or cultivate a more informed and relevant understanding of how health intersects with race in our culture (or, better yet, all all three!), filling out your bookshelf and your to-read pile with books by Black authors who are experts on the subject is the logical first step.

Whether it’s through talking about medical bias, mental health, combining activism with self-care or some thorough introductions and studies of reproductive justice — the Black woman-led movement that encompasses not only abortion access but access to all resources for raising happy, healthy kids — these are a few titles that can help you dig a bit deeper and give a more thorough foundation for being able to talk about health equity in the United States (and around the world).

Now, to be clear, you should always prioritize a reading list that includes authors from all different backgrounds. Think: If every POV you take in about health, about sex, about gender, about politics comes from someone who is white or from one (hyper-privileged) socioeconomic background — you’re getting a fraction of a fraction the story and a fraction of the information you need to form a solid understanding.

For readers who are non-Black POC and white readers especially, these are also great tools for lifting your own weight and doing your own research instead of asking your Black loved ones to shoulder any of that burden for you. So if you’ve noticed your reading list has felt a bit homogenous and more than a little incomplete, take this moment  to make a lasting change and support Black authors who are telling necessary stories and contextualizing important information.

Reading, listening and learning won’t replace taking necessary actions to dismantle white supremacy, but it’s a good start to making yourself the most informed and empathetic person you can be.

A version of this story was published June 2020 and updated in February 2023. 

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