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Black History Month: Black Health and Wellness Book Recommendations

Written by Manya Malhotra

Graphics by Aanya Khan

February is known to be Black History Month, a month-long observance to celebrate black achievement and give a fresh memorial to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and associations creating change in the US and Canada.

During the second week of February, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), established "Negro History Week". Woodson chose February for reasons of tradition and to encompass the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, men recognized as American symbols of freedom.

The subject for 2022 emphasizes the significance of Black Health and Wellness. This subject recognizes not only the legacy of Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine but also alternative ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, midwives, herbalists, etc.) all through the African Diaspora. The theme for 2022 looks at the activities, rituals, and projects that Black communities have undertaken to improve their well-being.

Here are some books on black health and wellness that you should read:

  1. Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice by Jael Silliman: Undivided Rights documents the changing and largely unknown activist history of women of color campaigning for reproductive justice on their own behalf.

  2. Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington: Describes how both slaves and freedmen were utilized in hospitals for experiments without their knowledge, a practice that is still being practiced in some black communities today.

  3. Caring For Equality a History Of African American Health And Healthcare By David McBride: Chronicles the African Americans and their white allies having to struggle to alleviate poor black health conditions as well as inadequate medical care caused by slavery, racism, and prejudice.

  4. Black Women's Mental Health Balancing Strength and Vulnerability: This book takes a fresh, interdisciplinary, and in-depth look at the obstacles and potential of Black women's battle for inner peace and mental stability.

  5. Reclaiming our health, A Guide to African American Wellness by Michelle A. Gourdine M.D.: Key insights into how African American culture influences health choices—how beliefs, traditions, and values can influence food habits, exercise routines, and even the decision to seek medical assistance.

To learn more about this year's theme and its history, read more from the ASALH website.

Works Cited

Alem Tedeneke. “Black History Month: What Is It and Why Do We Need It?” World

Economic Forum, 27 Jan. 2022, Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

“ASALH 2022 Theme Materials.” Canva, 2022,

oLxah7BMIksaeZpunQ/view?website#1. Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

“BLACK HISTORY THEMES – ASALH – the Founders of Black History Month.”,

2022, Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

Morris, Kim. “Black Health and Wellness Recognized during Black History Month |

Department of Medicine.” Department of Medicine, 31 Jan. 2022, Accessed 13 Feb. 2022.

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