Black Women at Work
On Refusal and Recovery
by Wendi S. Williams
February 2023, 137pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7599-1
$45, £35, 40€, A62
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7600-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Black women earn $.63 for each dollar earned by a white man, bringing to mind the three-fifths compromise agreed upon at the U.S. Constitutional Convention.

Details, and offers vignettes to illustrate, how patriarchy and white supremacy have restricted Black women at work, both historically and currently.

Around water coolers and over glasses of wine, Black women come together and process the ways in which their labor is taken for granted and their excellence called into question. Black Women at Work: On Refusal and Recovery makes the direct connection between these contemporary experiences and the long legacy of Black labor exploitation. Through the trafficking and enslavement of Africans, European Americans laid the inhumane foundation of their present-day wealth and privilege and established oppressive labor dynamics for workers that persist to this day.

In Black Women at Work, Wendi S. Williams moves the conversation beyond the stubborn audacity of inequity, focusing instead on the powerful history and example of Black women’s labor and refusal practices and on the potent role that choice and voice can play in dismantling seemingly impenetrable systems of unfairness. Through the interweaving of personal narratives and social media reflections, Williams crafts a larger narrative of recovery and refusal that articulates a liberatory path toward recovery and reclamation through refusal—a path that will ultimately help to bring us all closer to freedom.


  • Offers a common-sense, theoretically based systems analysis of Black women's experiences in the workplace
  • Articulates reasonable and realistic approaches to remedying intersectional inequity for Black women (and others) in the workplace
  • Provides a generalizable framework to make individual and systemic changes and/or cope within a range of employment contexts
  • Includes vignettes from dozens of women the author has counseled or worked with in diversity groups
  • Ties into contemporary activism, such as #BlackGirlsMagic and #ListentoBlackWomen
Wendi S. Williams, PhD, is the provost and senior vice president of Fielding Graduate University and co-chairs the national board of Girls Leadership, an organization that equips girls with the skills to exercise the power of their voice. Her work threads the intersection of education and psychology with Black women’s liberatory leadership practices to educate teachers, institutions, policymakers, advocates, and the general public to understand our everyday lived experiences. Her current work articulates leadership pathways for women and girls across diverse contexts and backgrounds and has informed the promotion of health and well-being among youth, their families, and the educational and mental health practitioners who work with them. Dr. Williams melds the scholarly and familiar to amplify Black women’s leadership praxis on her podcast, She Been Ready! The Podcast.


"This book speaks to ruptures in my heart that I didn’t realize needed healing. Ruptures caused by the years of workplace racial trauma. Dr. Williams conceptualizes what many Black women experience as the 'slash-and-burn,' calling attention to the ways Black women are overworked, underpaid, and undervalued in the workplace. Black Women at Work highlights the pressures Black women face." —Kenya Crawford, LMHC, Licensed Therapist and Racial Equity Consultant

"As she takes her reader on a journey through Black women’s professional stories coupled with academic analysis, Williams shines a light on both the freedom and bondage that exist in workplaces. Her skillful interweaving of anecdotes of shared and connected realities across centuries invites new understanding through examination of our society’s fierce commitment to maintaining systems of oppression at work. I find truth in these pages that encourage me to no longer seek answers, but rather seek spaces, as Williams highlights, where I can speak my truth and have it held with honor and regard." —Precious J. Stroud, Founder, BlackFemaleProject

Race and Ethnicity in Psychology

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