The history of hair in the black community

Freshman Aeri Peters describes the important history behind hair in the black community.

Hair is life. The way that we style it, the way that we treat it, it is a part of us and it always will be. Our community is very diverse and from a standpoint as a Black young woman, I would say I have options for my hair and that there is history behind it. When I was younger growing up, having hair that was very different from my peers was a challenge. I didn’t really know how to style it, so it made me upset and not like it. I always had questions, like what type of hair I had, (4a,4b,4c ect.), how to maintain it, and wondering how in the past my ancestors styled their hair. As I got older I found answers to these questions, like how to keep my hair protected with scarves and bonnets, how much and how little product I can put in it, and how I came to cherish it and discover it’s worth. I began to have control over my hair which made me feel like it had an even bigger importance. That importance also came along with the education of hair/hairstyles. Here are a few history points of black hairstyles.


~ Braids (Box Braids, Cornrows, Dreadlocks, Ghana Braids, etc.) have been dated back to about 5000 year from African Culture all the way back to 3500 BC.

~ Box Braids, Cornrows, Dreadlocks, Ghana Braids, are protected hairstyles that help black hair grow, strengthen, and give Black women and men a variety of hairstyles all while taking care of their natural hair.

~Oils are used to help contain moisture while helping the hair grow healthy and strong.

~ Braid patterns would show how old a person was, what African tribe were they from, how rich they were etc.

~ Braids have been used as a form of communication, expression and as a form of art.

~The origin of braids dated back, “from box braids to dreadlocks and afro shape-ups, many of the most iconic black hairstyles can be found in drawings, engravings and hieroglyphs from Ancient Egypt.”


~African tribes and places that used these types of Braids (such as Fulani Braids, Ghana Braids, Cornrows, Box Braids and Dreadlocks & Faux Locs) include the Himba Tribe, Fulani Tribe and places such as South Africa, West Africa, Sudan and the Horn of Africa.

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