in 1786 the 'Tignon Law' was passed in the state of Louisiana, legally prohibiting black women from showing their hair. Yes, you read that correctly: laws forbade black women from wearing their hair in public. The black women of the time were highly desired by the wealthy French & Spanish men, many of which were plantation owners. To bypass the strict racial laws that prevented them from marrying black women, they legally formed 'Plaçages', civil unions that ensured the women would remain taken care of legally by these men. These women acquired freedom if they were slaves, bore children by these men; became home and land owners, and often inherited great wealths. The attention that the black women received became so much, that white women became outraged. It disrupted the social structure upon which they relied on; back then women weren't usually business owners, you either came from money or married money. With that said, they politically forced the governor of the time to make it illegal for black women to show their hair, as they believed the fancy hairstyles were the initial attraction these men had to these women (BITCHes please). Black women, being the shit no matter what just decorated the scarves with expensive materials, and feathers. and still kept having light skinned babies. The attempt to diminish the natural beauty of black women backfired tremendously, instead creating a fashion trend that still stands today.
The constant need to critique, humiliate, dehumanize, and alter the black woman’s physical appearance has a long, twisted history in America.