About her hair, one woman offered the following: "For years I pushed, pounded, fried, dyed, re-fried, laid down, crocheted, braided, extended, Luster Curled, Jheri Curled, hot combed, curling ironed, and hair rollered my hair trying to get it to make sense to the rest of the world. "
Two world wars, the Civil Rights Movement and a Jheri Curl later, Blacks in America continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From the ante-bellum practice of shaving the head to pass as a "free" person" to the 1998 uproar over a White third grade teacher's reading of the book Nappy Hair, the issues surrounding Black hair continue to linger as we enter the 21st century.
HAIR STORY is an historical and anecdotal exploration of Black Americans tangled hair roots. A chronological look at the culture and politics behind the ever- changing state of Black hair from 15th century Africa to the present day United States, it ties the personal to the political and the popular.
Why Black American slaves used items like axle grease and eel skin to straighten their hair.
How a Mexican chemist straightened Black hair using his formula for turning sheep's wool into a mink-like fur.
The evolution of the Afro from militant style to mainstream fashion trend.
What prompted the creation of the Jheri curl and the popular style's fall from grace.
The story behind Bo Derek's controversial cornrows and the range of reactions they garnered.
Major figures in the history of Black hair are presented --from early hair- care entrepreneurs Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam CJ Walker to unintended hair heroes like Angela Davis and Bob Marley.
Celebrities, stylists and cultural critics weigh in on the burgeoning sociopolitical issues surrounding Black hair -- from the historically loaded terms "good" and "bad" hair to Black hair in the work place, to mainstream society's misrepresentation and misunderstanding of kinky locks.
HAIR STORY is the book that Black Americans can use as a benchmark for tracing a unique aspect of their history and people of all races will celebrate as the reference guide for understanding Black hair.