PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A new book looks at the changing perception of black women in the “Age of Michelle Obama.”

“Black Woman Redefined” discusses the many complexities that underlie who black women are, the pain they have endured over the years and the nagging statistics that say educated black women cannot find a husband. Author and South Jersey native Sophia A. Nelson says she wrote as a way to demystify the African-American woman.

“I wanted people to see us as we really are and not the things that have defined us and have defined and stereotyped us as black women since time immortal,” Nelson said. “Slavery had a huge impact, even in the 21st century, on how black women are viewed.”

(Credit: Ben Bella Books)

Nelson used data gathered from focus groups, surveys and scholars to identify stereotypes and perceptions of black women.

“Stereotypes are not funny when they follow you everywhere. When you say that black women are angry or they are beasts of burden, or they are tired all the time or not really nice or they work all the time or they are materialistic, all the things they say about us, it adds up.”

Click to listen to the full interview with Author Sophia A. Nelson

Nelson says Michelle Obama redefines what it means to be educated, black and female in America.

“Mrs. Obama has broken down those barriers, not by being an activist or hosting marches. But, she’s been able to do that by simply being herself.”

Nelson says the First Lady’s interactions with the President, her role as “Malia and Sasha’s Mom” and all of her accomplishments show young black women that you do not have to trade love and family for career. She says the First Lady is a true redefinition of what it means to be a black woman.

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio 1060

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