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How many decades and generations have zoomed by where African-American children sobbed crocodile tears, and black women cringed while getting their nappy hair combed?
If you study the vintage photographs of our ancestors combing someone’s hair, you’ll observe the procedure was pain-free. There aren’t any tears, cringing shoulders, or frowns displayed.
Unfortunately, we distanced ourselves from the Africans on the pages of the National Geographic magazines, and the old world history books. For the reason, we were ashamed of their peppercorn afros, elaborate braided hairstyles, clay/mud laden locks, black skin, nakedness, and the narratives of others about them.* Even though the famous European fashion houses, jewelry designers, cosmetic firms, and visual artists gleaned ideas from those photos.
The acceptance of the age-old adage, "Beauty is pain," was our mantra from one generation to the next. It makes me shudder when I think all those years of pain and suffering were unnecessary. If only we’d studied the vintage photographs of the ancestors combing their hair.
Do you realize we only learned the proper way of combing our nappy hair in the last 15 to 25 years in America? The procedure entails combing the ends of the hair strands first, and then working the comb toward the hair follicles.
It is my belief the Divine Spirit ushered those vintage photographs through time and space. So, the future generations of the kidnapped Africans would have tutorials. In order to learn about the art of farming, grooming, beautification, and healing, etc. from the original source.
I think it’s wonderful private university libraries, historical societies, and the cultural departments of governments are digitizing the vintage African photographs for public access.
However, the emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds are in the private photo collections, and libraries of the wealthy as well as at the Vatican Library. (I would love to get a peek at those photographs).
* Dr. Leo Hansberry setup the first Classical African studies program in the early 1920s at Howard University. So, there was an interest in Africa by black folks, but not on a grand scale and possibly the existence of some Classical African study groups.
For those who would argue African Americans lacked access to books and magazines because of segregation laws and therefore couldn’t pursue research about their hair. Please note during the era of segregation bookmobiles, segregated library reading rooms, one-day-a-week library service, and the black women’s social clubs acquired books, magazines, etc. for the black communities.
In the early 1900s, Madame C. J. Walker's pomades and hot combs eased the process of straightening dry nappy hair, but Walker lacked a solution for lessening the difficulty of combing wet nappy hair.
I'm I. Cowthern -- I enjoy watching old black and white movies and listening to jazz, pop, rock, R&B, and classical music.