Appearing at St. Peter’s Parish Hall | 2:30 pm – 3:20 pm
In conversation with Candace Kelley.
About the author
Dolen Perkins-Valdez is The New York Times bestselling author of Wench and Balm. She was a finalist for two NAACP Image Awards and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for fiction. She was also awarded the First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She lives in Washington, DC with her family.
MFOB featured book: Take My Hand
Take My Hand is inspired by a pivotal moment in the history of reproductive justice: the federally-funded, involuntary sterilization of thousands of poor women and children—most of them Black—across the country in the 1970s.
Civil Townsend has just finished nursing school, and all she wants is to make a lasting difference in her community. Employed at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she intends to help Black women make healthy choices about their bodies. Her first home case takes her down a desolate road to a worn-down, one-room cabin deep in the country. There, she meets India and Erica Williams, sisters only eleven and thirteen years old, who are to receive regular birth control shots. Neither girl has ever kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and that is enough reason for those handling their welfare benefits to ensure they don’t get pregnant. As Civil continues visiting the Williams family, she begins to question her role and take the sisters into her heart. Then, one day she arrives to find that both girls have been sterilized without their knowledge, and there was nothing she could have done to stop it. In that moment, Civil must decide if she will continue in silent complicity or speak up. Her decision will change all their lives forever.
Inspired by the real 1973 Relf v. Weinberger case of Montgomery, Alabama, Take My Hand excavates the chilling history of anti-Black racism in the American healthcare system and sheds light on the many women who suffered at its hands.