Parks argues that the image of the strong black woman has been as much a burden as a tribute because it has come to be expected that black women will endure all means of hardship in tending to the needs of others. She offers historical context and challenges the stereotypes of the indomitable black woman, drawing on interviews and recollections of her own sometimes painful experiences. She examines images of the black female in popular culture, in movies and books, and in mythology across nations and religions, from the Black Madonna to discovery of the DNA of mitochondrial Eve in all humans. The black women in popular American culture—from Hattie McDaniel to Cicely Tyson to Oprah Winfrey—are portrayed as compassionate and ferocious, always coming to the aid of others, making them possibly “the only women on earth who are fighting for the freedom to be more traditionally feminine.” Parks offers a compelling analysis of the toll of the strong image on women who have had enormous responsibilities but—until recently—little power and control. --Vanessa Bush
opens wide a window on black female power: both the reverence for it and what it has wrought.
I want every black woman—and those who care about black women and want to understand us more deeply—
to be as nourished as I was by the reading of this book and its revelations. —Susan L. Taylor, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazine
and Founder and CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement