Laws passed in the 18th
century forced Black women to cover their hair in public.
When free Black women in the South started wearing their hair in beautiful, elaborate styles that attracted a lot of attention, numerous saw it as a trouble to the status quo. So, in 1786 the governor of Louisiana passed the Tignon Law, which needed Black women to wear a tignon( scarf or serape ) over their hair as a way of signifying that they were members of the slave class, indeed if they were “ free. ” They followed the law, but mutinied by wearing beautiful, various fabrics adorned with jewels, turning the head wraps into glamorous, empowering fashion statements.
Once theU.S. took power of Louisiana through the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the Tignon Laws were no longer executed, but they still set the precedent for the policing of Black hair in theU.S. numerous Black women continued to wear their head wraps as a symbol of resistance to white colonialism.
In the 1960s, the afro came a symbol of tone– commission and activism.
An extension of the civil rights movement, the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and 1970s aimed to change the Black hair community’s understanding of itself and its influence on society. The natural afro came a popular statement of power, pride and resistance. Some people felt hair uncurling reflected a history of forced assimilation, so embracing their natural textures was a way of reclaiming their roots. Rocked by iconic Black activists, scholars and artists like Angela Davis, Toni Morrison and Nina Simone, the haircut represented the enduring fight against racism.
LoriL. Tharps of Hair Story explains, “ Our hair was a physical incarnation of our rebellion. The right to wear our hair the way it grows out of our heads. Saying to the establishment‘ Accept us and appreciate us for who we are.’ Stop awaiting us to assimilate or pacify ourselves to make you comfortable. ”
Institutional bias against Black hair still exists moment, and will continue to live if we do n’t push for change.
The Perception Institute’s 2016 “ Good Hair ” Study suggests that “ a maturity of people, anyhow of race and gender, hold some bias toward women of color grounded on their hair. ”( You can explore the results and take the hair bias test they developed then.) A 2020 Duke University study also set up that Black women with natural hairstyles were perceived as lower professional, less competent and were less likely to be recommended for job interviews than campaigners with straight hair( who were viewed as further polished, refined and respectable).
numerous seminaries and workplaces across the country are still fairly administering prejudiced programs against Black hair, from corner cases like that of Chastity Jones( whose job offer was withdrawn because she refused to cut off her dreadlocks) to everyday incidents like that of Jenesis Jones( whose high academy punished her for her “ unhappy ” afro).
With The CROWN Act — the first legislation inU.S. history to ban demarcation grounded on hair style and texture — now passed in several countries and on its way to getting public law, we ’re on a hopeful path to further inclusivity, acceptance and appreciation of all hair types. There is still a lot further work to be done, but growing diversity of representation in the media, our government and the beauty assiduity is helping to squash supremacist conceptions and start meaningful exchanges and that’s commodity worth celebrating