Afrikan News And History Post New Entry

A History of Black Hair From the 1400s to Present

Posted by The Reunion Black Family on February 29, 2012 at 3:10 PM

A History of Black Hair From the 1400s to Present. 1920s: Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist, urges followers to embrace their natural hair and reclaim an African aesthetic.

Woman (Mbororo) in Foumban, Cameroon. Originally published 1919.


1444: Europeans trade on the west coast of Africa with people wearing elaborate hairstyles, including locks, plaits and twists.

1619: First slaves brought to Jamestown; African language, culture and grooming tradition begin to disappear.

1700s: Calling black hair “wool,” many whites dehumanize slaves. The more elaborate African hairstyles cannot be retained.

1800s: Without the combs and herbal treatments used in Africa, slaves rely on bacon grease, butter and kerosene as hair conditioners and cleaners. Lighter-skinned, straight-haired slaves command higher prices at auction than darker, more kinky-haired ones. Internalizing color consciousness, blacks promote the idea that blacks with dark skin and kinky hair are less attractive and worth less.

1865: Slavery ends, but whites look upon black women who style their hair like white women as well-adjusted. “Good” hair becomes a prerequisite for entering certain schools, churches, social groups and business networks.

1880: Metal hot combs, invented in 1845 by the French, are readily available in the United States. The comb is heated and used to press and temporarily straighten kinky hair.

1900s: Madame C.J. Walker develops a range of hair-care products for black hair. She popularizes the press-and-curl style. Some criticize her for encouraging black women to look white.

1910: Walker is featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the first American female self-made millionaire.

1920s: Marcus Garvey, a black nationalist, urges followers to embrace their natural hair and reclaim an African aesthetic.

1954: George E. Johnson launches the Johnson Products Empire with Ultra Wave Hair Culture, a “permanent” hair straightener for men that can be applied at home. A women’s chemical straightener follows.

    


Our Hair has a History. Hair’s value was increased even more in the spiritual realm. The Yoruba people were required to keep their hair braided in certain styles as a part of their religion. The head is the most northern part of the body and viewed as the part of the body that is closest to the heavens and therefore communication from the God’s and spirits would pass through the hair.Yoruba say.


Categories: Africa, Black Inventors , Global Africa Network

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13 Comments

Reply howard el-Yasin
9:24 PM on March 1, 2012 
inciteful to consider the racial impact of hair as a timeline, as well as the link to Yourba spirituality.
Reply ALVIN HART
3:15 PM on May 23, 2012 
********lay it down !********(CAPISC !)*****
Reply cousin
7:50 PM on September 7, 2012 
I really liked that news special, its awesome to see our women wearing their hair proudly.
Reply Barbara
1:28 PM on November 25, 2012 
If we don't love who we are and enjoy our black natural hair, no one else will. We must understand our natural kinky hair is art. We have created so many hair styles, other culture of women can not do the things we do with our hair. Black hair is a built in fortune that 's why the world is making a fortune off of us. For majority of us we have done thousand of styles which damage the hair and take us longer to realizes that kinky hair is the best at the end of the day. Look at the many styles you can do without the heat, chemicals and glues.
Reply KJ
7:01 PM on November 25, 2012 
To say that "the head is the most Northern part of the body" shows more of the same prejudice. The idea that North is Up only applies to people in the Northern Hemisphere, whereas the Yoruba in Nigeria live in the Southern Hemisphere.
Reply Nia
11:22 PM on November 27, 2012 
Many older Blacks can remember coming to the realization that Black was Beautiful. We gloried in our range of skin colors and our lovely natural hair. I often wonder why that self loving became once again a self loathing. Black men and women are once again putting harmful chemicals in their hair and attempting to lighten their skin with harmful bleaches. We need only to look in the mirror to see true beauty. Try it, you'll like it.
Reply Michelle Naomi Francis
6:49 AM on November 28, 2012 
I'm a black woman who has gone natural and natural is best!!!
Reply Reese
7:26 AM on November 28, 2012 
Nice but we also adopted Christianity which was not part of African culture (Yoruba or otherwise). Belief in the gods (pl.) was pagan, so is pleasing said gods. ...my point is you can't believe and emulate only parts of a culture that appeal to or suit you. You need I decide where your beliefs lie and then everything else will fall in line. I embrace my beauty regardless or a natural style or a wavy wig. It's all a part of me and my expression of style. It has never been about denying or regaining a heritage.
Reply Michelle M. Lewis
2:44 PM on November 28, 2012 
This is so great to see Black women embracing their natural hair. If you want to alter it or wear a wig it's up to you, but I feel we should teach our little girls that their natural hair IS beautiful. Also teach our little boys its okay for their mommy's to wear their hair natural as well so they won't grow up with negative thoughts that natural hair is ugly. I sport my natural hair and so do all three of my girls. Don't get me wrong...wearing wigs, extensions or what ever you want is okay if that's who you are but if you want to go natural that's okay too.
Reply Nicole
7:27 AM on December 11, 2012 
Reese says...
Nice but we also adopted Christianity which was not part of African culture (Yoruba or otherwise). Belief in the gods (pl.) was pagan, so is pleasing said gods. ...my point is you can't believe and emulate only parts of a culture that appeal to or suit you. You need I decide where your beliefs lie and then everything else will fall in line. I embrace my beauty regardless or a natural style or a wavy wig. It's all a part of me and my expression of style. It has never been about denying or regaining a heritage.
Reply Nicole
7:28 AM on December 11, 2012 
I like Reese's comment
Reply Cathie
11:33 AM on November 16, 2013 
I stumbled on this site researching hair styles. I moved to the US from eastern Europe- a country that when I left in '89, saw only 1 black/ethnic person in...anyhoo, when I cam here I was amazed with the different cultures. I like black women wearing their hair naturally, I think it's pretty as opposed to the fake thick doll-like (harsh looking) weaves that I usually see. Natural hair just oozes self confidence and that is beautiful.
Reply Colin Joseph
2:32 AM on February 18, 2014 
A great article and revelatory news report. Thank you ..