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Author Marita Golden takes us on a journey of self, health, healing that interrogates the slogan “Black don’t crack.” Her opening introduction below is an appropriate teaser for a self-help guide that she describes as a love letter to her Black women sister friends.


These essays, meditations, conversations, interviews and imaginings were written in the spring and summer of 2020, that perilous introduction to pandemic and panic, that distance from and longing for a recent past that suddenly seemed in memory, like nirvana. This book was borne of questions about my health. Its identity is hybrid, fractured, and multi-layered. It is a love letter to Black women, a call to arms, and a balm. Locked down. Locked out. Quarantined. I did what I have always done. I marshalled words to build bridges and break locks separating me from what I needed most, what I have always needed, what we all need—community.

On these pages are musings about Black women’s health, but essentially, I am investigating the state of our souls. I cite statistics that claim to measure our physical health and reveal the ways that our ill-health has been designed and defined by others, and ask how we can reclaim it. What does it mean to be a Strong Black Woman in this time when we are as a world, frail, vulnerable, failing? How do we hurt? Where do we hurt? How do we heal? These essays are written in the voice of our sorrow songs and Amen corners in all their uncertainty and cumbersome contradictions.