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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The term 'Black' is used world wide and has different meanings in different places. It is used to describe those of African and Afro-diaporic descent. The term Black women is both a multi-faceted cultural identity and a powerful social construct with different meanings in different places.

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Increased risk for health problems in the United States

Black women have been seen in stereotypical ways which result in increased health risks for them. Not only are they at a higher risk to contract these diseases than white women, but they also are at a higher risk to die from them as well. According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate for all cancers for black women is 14% higher than that of white women[1]. While the probability of being diagnosed with cancer in black women is 1 in 3, the chance of dying from cancer is 1 in 5[1]. Cancer is not the only disease that disproportionately affects African American women. Lupus is 2-3 times more common in women of color, but more specifically 1 in every 537 black women will have lupus.[2] Black women are also at a higher chance of being overweight thus making them open to more obesity-related diseases.[3] There is also a racial disparity when it comes to pregnancy related deaths. While there are 12.4 deaths for every 100,000 births for white women, the statistics for black women is 40.0 deaths for every 100,000 births.[4] This may be due to their consumption of soul food, Southern cuisine and American cuisine, which is high in fat and sugar. They also consume more fast food.[5] In Atlanta, Black women face higher rates of contracting HIV.

History in the United States

Black slaves, many of whom were women, were often abused by their owners and other white people.[6] This abuse extended beyond the physical and psychological abuse directly related to how slaves were treated, and include the exploitation of black women slaves in order to advance different scientific practices and techniques.[citation needed] Black female slaves were fetishized by White men and were forced to breed with their White male slave owners to bear mixed race mulatto offspring to maintain White supremacy, have more slaves to pick cotton and produce superior slaves in the South.[7][8]

Women within black popular culture in the United States

Notable black women in US popular culture include:

  • Harriet Tubman: Born in the early 19th century in the former slave state of Maryland, Tubman is widely regarded for helping many African-American slaves to escape slavery via the Underground Railroad.[9] According to PBS, Tubman risked her own life "19 times by 1860" in order to save other slaves and return them to the North during the American Civil War.[10] Prior to being married, Tubman's name was Araminta Ross and she was also a nurse, cook and spy for the Northern Army during the Civil War.
  • Ella Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald, an American Jazz singer born in 1917, was given the title of "The First Lady of Song."[11] Fitzgerald is also known as the Queen of Jazz and won 13 Grammys for her vocal performances over the course of her life. In the music community, Fitzgerald is known for her four octave vocal range and for being a scat-singer. Additionally, Fitzgerald was capable of performing music in a multitude of genres, including swing and bop.[12] Like many black artists at the time, Fitzgerald performed at the Apollo Theater in New York City
  • Billie Holiday: Similar to Fitzgerald, Holiday, born as Eleanora Fagan, remains an important figure within the history of jazz music in America.[13] Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Holiday's vocal range was limited yet she is known for her thin, light voice that has a punch to it. Holiday is featured on the track "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" which was a number one hit when it was released and remains popular today,.[12]

As leaders

President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia
President Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson of Liberia

Some of the most important artistic and political leaders in history have been black women. For instance, Queen Qalhata and Candace of Meroe are important, early African queens.[14][15][16] In the United States, Toni Morrison was the first black woman Nobel laureate. Shirley Chisholm was an important Democratic candidate for U.S. President in the 1970s. In Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as President of Liberia for 12 years.


  1. ^ a b "Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Lupus facts and statistics". Lupus Foundation of America. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  3. ^ Gillum, Richard F. (1987–2008). "Overweight and Obesity in Black Women: A Review of Published Data From The National Center for Health Statistics". Journal of the National Medical Association. 79 (8): 865–871. ISSN 0027-9684. PMC 2625572. PMID 3508218.
  4. ^ "Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System  | Maternal and Infant Health | CDC". 2018-08-07. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Greenberg, Kenneth S; White, Deborah Gray; Harris, J. William (1987). "Black Women and White Men in the Antebellum South". Reviews in American History. 15 (2): 252. doi:10.2307/2702176. JSTOR 2702176.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Harriet Tubman Facts and Quotes | Black History | PBS". Harriet Tubman Facts and Quotes | Black History | PBS. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  10. ^ "Harriet Tubman". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  11. ^ "Ella Fitzgerald". Ella Fitzgerald. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  12. ^ a b DeVeaux, Scott (2009). Jazz. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 9780393192742.
  13. ^ "Billie Holiday". Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  14. ^ Vercoutter, Jean (1976-01-01). The Image of the Black in Western art. Morrow. ISBN 9780688030865.
  15. ^ Walker, Robin (2006-01-01). When We Ruled: The Ancient and Mediœval History of Black Civilisations. Every Generation Media. ISBN 9780955106804.
  16. ^ Sertima, Ivan Van (1984-01-01). Black Women in Antiquity. Transaction Books. ISBN 9780878559824.
This page was last edited on 19 March 2019, at 01:17
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