Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing
I'm thankful What Should I Read Next guest Charlandra Jenkins put this great book on my radar (in episode 243, "Predicting the next great American classic.") Over the course of several years living and studying in the rural South and on the West Coast, Michele Elizabeth Lee compiled interviews, stories, and wisdom from African American healers. In between stories, Lee shares a collection of remedies, medicines, and the history behind them. These natural healing practices celebrate and honor the earth, and the history is both fascinating and well-told.
African American traditional medicine is an American classic that emerged out of the necessity of its people to survive. It began with the healing knowledge brought with the African captives on the slave ships and later merged with Native American, European and other healing traditions to become a full-fledged body of medicinal practices that has lasted in various forms down to the present day.
Working the Roots: Over 400 Years Of Traditional African American Healing is the result of first-hand interviews, conversations, and apprenticeships conducted and experienced by author Michele E. Lee over several years of living and studying in the rural South and in the West Coast regions of the United States. She combines a novelist’s keen ear for storytelling and dialogue and a healer’s understanding of folk medicine arts into a book that makes for both pleasant, interesting reading, and serves as a permanent household healing guide.
Divided between sections on interviews of healers and their stories and a comprehensive collection of traditional African American medicines, remedies, and the many common ailments they were called upon to cure, Working The Roots is a valuable addition to African American history and American and African folk healing practices.