Expand Your Collection: 5 Must-Read Books Highlighting Black Women’s Contributions To Science

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Feb. 29 2024, Published 8:10 a.m. ET

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As we commemorate Black History Month, we must acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable contributions of Black women to the scientific community. Their tireless efforts and groundbreaking work paved the way for future scientists and served as a testament to the indelible impact of diversity and inclusion on scientific progress. Let us honor their legacy by continuing to advocate for greater equity and representation and championing diversity’s vital role in shaping the future of science. Check out these five books highlighting Black women’s contributions to science.

“Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly

“Hidden Figures” is an essential addition to any reading list, offering an inspiring account of the Black female mathematicians whose invaluable contributions propelled the U.S. space program to success. While the movie adaptation captured the essence of their story, delving into the book’s pages is highly recommended for a deeper understanding. As a bestseller and award-winning work, it’s clear that the book’s rich detail, historical context, and nuanced portrayal of the women’s experiences offer a profound perspective that even the film couldn’t capture.

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“Black Women in Science” by Kimberly Brown Pellum, PhD

Black girls must see themselves represented in all fields and recognize Black women’s incredible contributions to science across various disciplines. “Black Women in Science” is a valuable resource that spotlights the short biographies of 15 exceptional scientists tailored to engage children in upper elementary school. By sharing their stories, “Black Women in Science” seeks to empower Black girls and cultivate a sense of possibility and belonging in science.

“The Disordered Cosmos” by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

During Black History Month (…and beyond), let’s continue highlighting Black women’s contributions to science with author Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein. She is a professor of physics and astronomy and has a Ph.D. in physics. Her book, “The Disordered Cosmos,” blends science and sociology. In the book, she discusses complex topics such as quarks, spacetime, and dark matter. In addition, she also addresses issues of racism and sexism and the emotional labor that Black academics face. 

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“Changing the Equation” by Tonya Bolden

Throughout scientific history, Black women have made significant contributions to various fields, including medicine, computer science, and inventing. Despite facing numerous challenges, many of these trailblazing women persevered and became experts in their respective fields. In her broad selection of profiles, Tonya sheds light on the remarkable achievements of Black women from the 1800s to the present day. Her work serves as an inspiration to the next generation of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers. It encourages them to pursue their passions while striving for excellence in their chosen fields. By recognizing the accomplishments of these remarkable women, we can appreciate the contributions that Black women have made to science and society as a whole.

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“Sisters in Science” by DiAnn Jordan

DiAnn Jordon, an individual who recognized the lack of information and representation of Black female scientists, made it her mission to address this issue. She created “Sisters in Science,” a comprehensive oral history highlighting underrepresented scientists’ contributions, enriching the academic historical record to accomplish this goal. The oral history project features the personal accounts of 18 Black scientists, who share their own stories and experiences in their own words, providing insight into their achievements and struggles. This project is a significant endeavor in the field of science and history, as it sheds light on the work of these remarkable individuals.

These are just a few examples of books highlighting Black women’s contributions to science. Continuing to highlight their achievements recognizes their individual accomplishments and also helps to inspire future generations of Black women scientists for years to come.

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