Festival Saturday, February 17, 2024

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.

Jepson Neises Auditorium

207 W. York St, Savannah, GA 31401

Linda Villarosa


In 2018, Linda Villarosa’s New York Times Magazine article on maternal and infant mortality among black mothers and babies in America caused an awakening. Hundreds of studies had previously established a link between racial discrimination and the health of Black Americans, with little progress toward solutions. But Villarosa’s article exposing that a Black woman with a college education is as likely to die or nearly die in childbirth as a white woman with an eighth grade education made racial disparities in health care impossible to ignore.

Now, in Under the Skin, Linda Villarosa lays bare the forces in the American health-care system and in American society that cause Black people to “live sicker and die quicker” compared to their white counterparts. Today’s medical texts and instruments still carry fallacious slavery-era assumptions that Black bodies are fundamentally different from white bodies. Study after study of medical settings show worse treatment and outcomes for Black patients. Black people live in dirtier, more polluted communities due to environmental racism and neglect from all levels of government. And, most powerfully, Villarosa describes the new understanding that coping with the daily scourge of racism ages Black people prematurely. Anchored by unforgettable human stories and offering incontrovertible proof, Under the Skin is dramatic, tragic, and necessary reading.


Linda Villarosa is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, where she covers the intersection of race, inequality and health. A former Essence Magazine executive editor, Linda contributed to the 1619 Project, writing the chapter on Medicine. She is also a professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism with a joint appointment at the City College of New York. Her book “Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation” was published by Doubleday in June 2022.


Thank You to Our SBF Sponsors