[i] Artist cited in catalogue materials for “The Culture of Rights/The Rights of Culture” exhibit (see Polak and Schwerd  2009).
[ii] As Sundiata Cha-Jua (2006) observes, this is especially disturbing in light of the state’s financial investment in erecting walls and national boundaries to exclude racialized immigrant groups escaping poverty caused by American foreign presence and neoliberal policy, occurring under the Bush regime at the time of Katrina and more recently under Trump (2).
[iii] As enumerated by Louisiana state officials and reported in the New York Times (Dewan 2005).
[iv] Album belonging to the Vilas family of Sterling, Vermont, loose page with the names and hair of three sisters, Lucy, Caroline, and Pamelia, 1825. Verso, a mourning poem penned by the mother of the girls, Mercy Flint. National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection, Hair Box 3, Folder, Miscellaneous.
[v] Diary belonging to Mary Elizabeth Browne, New England, loose page with hand-written diary entry, dated September 26, 1862. National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection, Hair Box 3, Folder, Miscellaneous.
[vi] In landmark legislation, the New York City Commission on Human Rights recently made racial discrimination based on hair and hairstyle illegal (see the Commission’s “Legal Enforcement Guidance on Race Discrimination on the Basis of Hair,” 2019).
[vii] Hair was forcibly cropped and heads shaved in residential schools and on plantations as a means of gendered retribution, dehumanization, subjugation, cultural genocide, and “sanitation,” with long hair and traditional African and Indigenous hairstyles blamed for spreading bugs and infection and seen to signify barbarism. In addition to the forcible removal of hair, the absence of traditional styling tools in the colonized Americas, specifically African combs, made hair and hairstyles difficult to maintain. While this worked to eradicate African cultural practices, it also illustrates the resourcefulness of free and enslaved African women, who designed and crafted combs from materials available to them (see Canada’s 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Vol. I, 315; see also White and White 1998, 40; Gottschild 2003, 208; and Byrd and Tharps 2002, 13-4).
[viii] For example, minstrel stereotypes and the accompanying industry in minstrel wigs, whose products were pictured in theatre-supply catalogues such as Philipp Ostermayer’s Catalogue of Theatrical and Society Hair Goods (Jersey City, New Jersey, n.d.) and Heisler & St. Germain’s Theatrical Emporium (Hair Good Department, Brooklyn, New York, n.d.). National Museum of American History, Warshaw Collection, Hair Box 2, Folders, Ostermayer, Philipp, and Heisler & St. Germain et al.
[ix] Notably, by Black beauticians and hairworkers such as Mme. L.C. Parrish, who established a “wig-making and hair-weaving trade for Black women in Boston around 1889,” and the Philadelphia-based Bustill family, whose hairwork and hairpiece advertisements populate the era’s African American periodicals (Bundles 2001, 69; see also Parrish 1912, 3; and Gardner 2015, 80-1).
[x] This makes the cultural misappropriation of “ethnic hairstyles” by persons who benefit from hegemonic power structures all the more disturbing; for example, the wearing of cornrows, Bantu knots, and box braids by Kim and Khloé Kardashian, and the wearing of dreadlock wigs by white models for Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2017 fashion show.
[xi] During the Victorian era, DIY hairwork manuals were a popular way of learning how to make hair keepsakes and jewellery. They also provided instruction on how to make hairpieces, including braids and curls. See Mark Campbell’s 1867 guide Self-Instructor in the Art of Hair Work and Alexanna Speight’s The Lock of Hair (1871).
[xii] For Bush’s exact quote, see the New York Times (“Barbara Bush Calls Evacuees Better Off” 2005).
[xiii] Body contact between whites and Black persons was prohibited under Jim Crow and enforced in Georgia with barbering laws that forbade Black male hairdressers from cutting or styling the hair of white girls and women (see US National Park Service 2018). This law positioned Black men as sexual predators and linked women’s hair, a sexualized body part, to the suggestion of illegal interracial intimacy. In the earlier colonial and antebellum eras, free and enslaved African and African American men and women were employed to work and style the natural and artificial hair of wealthy white families and customers (Gill 2010, 9-10).
[xiv] See page 7 of the Columbus Museum’s 2012 Annual Report.
[xv] For hairstyles featured in Sonya Clark’s “The Hair Craft Project,” see the artist’s website (2019). See also Crowe (2019), and stunning photographs by Ojeikere currently housed at London’s Tate Gallery.
[xvi] FEMA only partially subsidized the Katrina Memorial. Supplementary donations to finish the project were received from African American funeral associations and charities such as the African American Funeral Directors of New Orleans (see LaCoste 2014).
[xvii] Artist statement in web materials for the Hair On Fire exhibit, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, College of Charleston, South Carolina, May 14–June 15, 2009.
[xviii] I am thinking specifically of the 2015 anti-Black hate crime in Charleston in which a white-supremacist terrorist murdered nine African American parishioners at their church.
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