The history of black hair by Abygail age 10

The history of black hair from braids to weaves originates from the ethnic groups in Africa, the first example of dreadlocks goes all the way back to the Egyptian times where we see them on many artefacts. Hair growing and clay has a significant amount of status and identity in African tribes. It is a way to identify someones social status based on ethnicity, social rank, age, moral status, wealth or religion. Twisting, braiding, cotton or wool thread, weaving, adding animal fat or mutton clay were all amazing techniques used to create these elaborate looks. Due to styling taking hours and sometimes days much like today women use this time to beautifying themselves to socialise and form meaningful bonds with one another.


In 1444 Europeans began to kidnap Africans of social status' and trade them on the west coast of Africa, many of them wore elaborate hairstyles. Although Europeans were one of the first in trace with and admired the complexity of style, texture and adornment of natural hair. Something had to be done to rape them of their identity to remain control and independency. Many slave owners shaved not only the men's hair but the women's. This was considered an unspeakable crime.


In 1619 the first slaves were brought to Jamestown. After being on the ship for 3 months in unbearable conditions where hygiene let alone hair care could be maintained, the Africans hair were matted on arrival. The enslaved Africans weren't allowed to speak their native languages or do tribal dances and maintain their hair in the styles they chose. All of African culture and grooming began to disappear. The slave masters wanted to cut away the true connection to themselves. They pushed their standard of beauty, fair skinned, straight hair and facial features. African, dark skinned, kinky hair and wider facial features were marked as unattractive. Because fo this fair skinned, straight haired people were sold much higher at auction. Women were often raped by their "masters" and plantation workers. Many bore biracial children with fine curly hair like the father's. Due to brainwashing and enternalising colour consciousness, Blacks came to promote the idea that dark skin and kinky hair was unattractive and worthless. This mentality was consciously and subconsciously passed on from generation to generation. It still plauges Blacks today. So let us be proud about our hair and embrace it and this just doesn't go for Blacks. Mixed, White, Indian, Asian or even Korean we all have a colour and a story that goes with it.



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