No Weapon Formed, An Exploration of the Black Woman’s Experience in America, and How We Can Move Towards Healing Together By Melissa Fox


This book explores the earliest beginnings of the Black Woman in this country. No Weapon Formed uses history and current events as a backdrop, but also spotlights voices of real women who discuss their personal experiences and struggles as Black Women in America. Most importantly, No Weapon Formed offers a powerful guide which can be used to help achieve mental and physical healing in a way that is intimate and real for you.


 “If we look at the path and pattern that have led Black women to this point, it is abundantly clear that the systemic patterns of dehumanization, devaluing and attempts to diminish our person have also created a toxic response that masks survival as strength.  We deserve more. We deserve healing.”

Author Bio

Melissa Fox holds a Masters in Healthcare Administration from LSU and a BA in Communications from Rowan University. She has spent most of her 20+ year career working with mid-size and large community care organizations to reduce disparities and support individuals who have been historically and systemically disenfranchised. Melissa is a member of several boards which address the root causes of inequity, and is a board member of her local chapter of the NAACP as well as a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Her life is filled with love from her three children, a wonderful husband of 21 years and a village of family members both near and far.

Author Interview

1. Why did you decide to write this book right now?

I decided to write this book now because Black Women are at a point where we’re ready to address the toll of being the “strong” Black Woman, and how it has affected us mentally and physically. We’re tired, and we’re ready to say “I refuse” and turn away from the historical patterns and expectations which have led us to this point. We need to heal, but with the complexities and demands of our reality, finding our way to healing isn’t going to be easy.  As a matter of fact it’s going to require not only an individual effort, but our working together collectively as a sisterhood to undo the damage that has been done. No Weapon Formed provides not only the context for what got us to this point, but it also provides a structure we can follow to heal. Also, this country seems more open than it has ever been to conversations about how the Black Woman is not only an important contributor to the stability and success of our society, but to how that contribution has affected us mentally and physically.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a coordinated commitment to doing anything substantive about it, but the fertile ground is there for us to begin a path forward.

2. Why did you choose the title “No Weapon Formed”?

The title came almost organically as I was doing research for the book. The statistics on the disparities related to Black Women were astounding: we’re more likely to have cardiovascular disease risk factors; we’re murdered at significantly higher rates; we’re less likely to receive radiation treatment for mastectomies; we’re more likely to die as a result of childbirth.  The list went on and on.  When I looked at all of these things that have been thrown at us, and yet we still stand and are the backbone of key institutions in our society, I was proud — but also angry. So when I thought about how we continue to persevere, and how we will eventually fight our way to a full healing, No Weapon Formed was the obvious title.  It actually comes from Isaiah 54-17, which is a powerful scripture because it acknowledges that there WILL be weapons, but they will not triumph over you.

3. What do you want Black Women to get from this book?

I want Black Women to feel energized, empowered, and UNITED as a result of this book. I want us to see the pattern and system which have led us to this point, and then be ready to create our individual and collective plan to help us heal.  And when I say heal, I mean to reduce the disparities we experience so we’re not aging faster and dying sooner than everyone else.  It’s not fair to us, and it’s not fair to our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and sisters. No Weapon Formed is not meant to be the end of the plan –it’s meant to be the beginning and the catalyst for Black Women to seek additional self-care, counseling or other support resources they may need.  No Weapon Formed is about ACTION.

4. What is the ITSA?

The Intersectionality Trauma and Stress Assessment (ITSA) is a scale I created to help Black Women recognize the potential level of stress they may be carrying.  Too often we just keep moving and keep dealing with the stress and trauma without realizing that we are wearing down our bodies and minds. The ITSA offers a quick and easy way to gauge what level of burden may be affecting us. The closer your score is to 72, the more you may need to identify additional resources and supports may be needed.  It isn’t meant to be a clinical tool, but it’s a great directional guide and even a warning. It’s good to use for individuals, and is also great as part of any sisterhood discussion groups.  Women can access the survey HERE

5. You say the first step to laying down your burdens is P.O.W.E.R. Why is that so important?

Starting from a place of power is important anytime, but when Black Women have to prepare themselves for healing it is exponentially more so.  In the book, I address how we have to relieve ourselves of the historical baggage that has made us ill for so long, so we’re ready to begin our healing journey. Essentially we have to clear the deck to make way for our freedom. But before we can do that, we have to lay down the burdens that tend to weigh us down.  To go through this process, we can begin with P.O.W.E.R: Prepare yourself mentally; Organize; Welcome the process; Encourage yourself; Recognize old patterns.  This starting point will create an environment that is conducive to the next stage of healing.

6. I like that you let Black Women tell their own stories in the book. What made you do that?

Including stories from other Black Women was such an important part of No Weapon Formed.  I wanted us to hear ourselves in the text and the consistency of our experiences.  Their stories were so powerful and so moving that I still go back and reflect on many of them.  Their honesty was beautiful and I hope that other women are able to use their experiences as part of their own sister group discussions.

7. How do I start my own sisterhood healing group?

I’m hoping that we get sisterhood healing groups started in every state!  Black Women committed to supporting themselves and other sisters in getting healthier and creating a nurturing environment for each other in the midst of the societal challenges we have, would shift the trajectory of this country. In No Weapon Formed, we provide a helpful framework to help anyone who wants to create a group and help ensure consistency, and the book is set up to work well with discussion group formats.

Contact The Author

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