by Emily B., February 22, 2021 8:19 AM
Find more book lists and recommendations on our Black History Month page.
Science is a system that uses unbiased, empirical evidence to make awe-inspiring discoveries, but the ways in which we attribute and chronicle those discoveries are far from impartial. From textbooks and history books to scientific journals, the contributions, or attributed contributions, of white males have long been privileged. Others, particularly the contributions of Black scientists, and Black female scientists, have been purposely distorted or left out.
In recent years, authors, professors, journalists, and others have worked to uncover and highlight those buried legacies, but they’ve really only scratched the surface. From Alice Ball, who invented the 20th century's best treatment for leprosy at just 23, to Dr. Marie Maynard Daly, the first Black woman to earn a PhD in Chemistry in the United States, there are still scientists about whom books are scarce, out of print, or nonexistent. Nonetheless, the books below are a starting point for delving into the scientific legacy of Black women around the world and for inspiring the next generation to follow in their footsteps.