Whether your hair is chemically straightened, in the throes of transitioning, or a la’ natural an excellent source of information on Black hair is Willie Morrow’s 400 Years Without a Comb. This is an excellent video to watch with kids so they understand our hair care struggles and are better able to embrace natural curls/kinks.
Morrow’s book is out of print and I sincerely thank whomever took time to upload video on his research because it certainly speaks to educating on a topic that continues to divide black people. It is Black History/Herstory month and I am down for unity in our communities. The video on You Tube runs is shown in parts 1-6.
What You Will Learn from 400 Years Without A Comb:
- Styling of African hair was an art and a time for bonding between mother’s/ daughters/women
- Intricate style could take up to two days
- Girls and women took pride in hair grooming and styles
As enslaved Africans:
- Hair was always to be kept covered
- Scalp diseases were on-going
- Sweat and head sores were common from working in the sun for hours with head coverings
- Hair grooming aids were virtually non-existent
- Hair was combed and cut with shears used for animals
- Sunday was the only time hair and bathing could take place
- Black women had to be savvy in order to work through damaged hair
- Black women were creative with hair grooming
- Torn pieces of brown paper bags were used to set and curl hair
- Hair oil was homemade as dryness was a big issue
Madame C J Walker:
- Madame C J Walker was the first black millionaire
- Her hair care products sold to thousands of black women
- She revolutionized the straightening comb which provided new options
- Black women found ways to pay for her products
I won’t spoil the rest of the video, but I definitely encourage you to take time to watch with youth. Understanding our hair story may helps us to appreciate where we are today in terms of hair and instills self-pride and love-of-self.