I discovered archetypes right after Jung did (so sadly he gets all the credit) and they never cease to fascinate me. You learn about an archetype and first you are a bit incredulous but soon you see it everywhere you turn your head.
Sheri Parks discusses the Strong Black Woman archetype in its different incarnations throughout the centuries focusing mostly on the American culture and society. At first I thought the whole idea was too far-fetched - to go from prehistorical times to Michelle Obama over 150 pages and claim it's all one thing.
I wasn't always sure the archetype is owned solely by black women as it reminded me a lot of my country's beloved archetype - the so called Matka Polka (Polish Mother) that asks Polish women to save their children, husbands, community and preferably the whole country as well while they are on it. Eventually though, I had to agree that white women (especially in Western countries) have more archetypes/roles to choose from than black women.
The first four chapters were an insightful piece of acedemical work but Parks lost me (and consequently one star) with the fifth chapter which read more like Chicken Soup for the African-American woman's soul rather than serious non fiction literature. It was all stories about some women who were selfless, selfsacrifacing and extremely hardworking. I just don't believe that black women have a monopoly on that attitude. I see women like that all the time, they come in all skin colours and nationalities. This particular thing has a lot more to do with gender.
The last chapter, which I am guessing was supposed to offer a summary and conclusion, was just all over the place. I couldn't tell where it was coming from nor where it was going.
It also made Sheila Johnson sound absolutely obnoxious (unwillingly I suppose).
Oh, just go ahead and read the first four chapters and then return the book to the library.