Headwraps and the African-American Slave

Top Left:  Slave women and men wearing  headwraps   Top Right:  Black " Mammy " taking care of white child  Bottom:   African and Afro-Latina  slaves in headwraps

Top Left: Slave women and men wearing headwraps Top Right: Black "Mammy" taking care of white child Bottom: African and Afro-Latina slaves in headwraps

Headwraps were once worn by both male and female slaves as a sign of power (or lack thereof) in the days of American slavery. Soon, it became solely a woman’s accessory. Most slave owners viewed headwraps as a sign of poverty and subordination so they made sure that the slave women had enough material to wear the head garments at all times. In fact, much like the Tignon Laws of the late 1700s, slave women were required by law to wear these headwraps.

Emerging from the stigma behind black female slaves and the headwrap, the character “Mammy” evolved. The mammy, which is a stereotype that still exist today, is a representation of a black woman who always wears a headwrap, takes care of a white family, and remains faithful to her “owners” or employers. The headscarf in this case is crucial in the same way that the cowboy hat is to the cowboy. Due to this stereotype, the African-American female slave and the headwrap became inseparable.

But the headwrap was not all negative connotations. It served as protection for the hair of slaves while they worked under the sun in harsh conditions. Just like we wear protective styles now, black female slaves tied their hair in various styles so that it did not get damaged from the sun. Before these women were shipped off into slavery, they used other protective styles like braids, plats, and twists. But once they were sold, they were shaved and erased of their identity. As their hair grew back, they did not have the the resources nor time for these styles, so they took on the headwrap.  They tied these wraps in different ways to reflect the cultures from which they came.

The hair of African-American women has always been a topic of debate. For instance, in recent years, we still see black women losing their jobs because of the way they wear their natural hair. Luckily, black women continuously find unique and beautiful ways to both protect and show off the gift that they were born with.

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The holiday season is here!

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Black Models and Early Modernism

“Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today,” at Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery is a long past due exhibition curated by Denise Murrell. Her exhibition focuses on overlooked black female models in the paintings of classical modernist painters like Matisse and Manet.

1.“Young Woman With Peonies,” 1870 2.Manet’s “La négresse (Portrait of Laure),” 1863 3.Thomas Eakins’s “Female Model,” circa 1867-69 4.Romare Bearden’s “Patchwork Quilt,” 1970 5.Olympia, 1856 by Edouard Manet

1.“Young Woman With Peonies,” 1870 2.Manet’s “La négresse (Portrait of Laure),” 1863 3.Thomas Eakins’s “Female Model,” circa 1867-69 4.Romare Bearden’s “Patchwork Quilt,” 1970 5.Olympia, 1856 by Edouard Manet

One of the most interesting paintings in this exhibition is Manet’s “Olympia”. What’s interesting about this painting is that even though the painting has been discussed profoundly in art history, the black model wearing a headwrap is continuously overlooked. As stated eloquently by Denise Murrell, “This woman is in full view, but she’s invisible, ignored in the narrative…. Would Manet really give all this pictorial space to someone he didn’t want us to pay attention to?” This brings up the question: Why are women of color continuously overlooked in classical art, even when the artists include them in these paintings for specific purposes?  Artists from the Harlem Renaissance featured in this exhibit included these Black women in their art because Modernism is meant to tell “the critical story of modern portrayals of black figures”.

The beautiful part about this rediscovery of black models in Early Modernism is that we can see what black women were wearing and how they were living their everyday lives during these early time periods. It is important that we continue to talk about those who are often overlooked in history so that their stories are not forgotten.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/01/arts/de...

Tignon Laws

Tignon (pronounced “tiyon”)- a piece of cloth worn as a turban headdress by Creole women of African ancestry in Louisiana. In 1786 Governor Esteban Rodriguez Miró of Louisiana created laws meant to govern the ways in which African American women were allowed to dress. Due to the fact that black women’s beauty served as too much of a “competition” to that of white women, black women were forced to wrap their hair in a tignon. This was supposed to make them less attractive. Fortunately, the black women of Louisiana turned this head wrap into a fashion and art form.

1. 19th Century Tignon Wearing Women of Color 2. 1786 Francois Beaucourt, Portrait of Servant Woman 3. Woman in Tignon Selling Fruits & Vegetables 4. Women of Santo Domingo in Tignons

1. 19th Century Tignon Wearing Women of Color 2. 1786 Francois Beaucourt, Portrait of Servant Woman 3. Woman in Tignon Selling Fruits & Vegetables 4. Women of Santo Domingo in Tignons

Source: https://b-womeninamericanhistory19.blogspo...

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Scarves have been worn internationally by women and men for thousands of years. Linea Germania has dedicated this blog to the exploration of the scarf in both historical and modern day culture. With the inclusion of submissions from faithful clients, Linea Germania aims to highlight the importance of the scarf’s influence on fashion and culture.