By Maxine Leeds Craig
"Black is Beautiful!" The phrases have been the exuberant rallying cry of a new release of black girls who threw away their straightening combs and followed a proud new variety they known as the Afro. The Afro, as worn such a lot famously by way of Angela Davis, grew to become a veritable icon of the Sixties.Although the recent good looks criteria looked as if it would come up in a single day, they really had deep roots inside black groups. Tracing her tale to 1891, whilst a black newspaper introduced a competition to discover the main appealing girl of the race, Maxine Leeds Craig records how black ladies have negotiated the intersection of race, category, politics, and private visual appeal of their lives. Craig takes the reader from attractiveness parlors within the Nineteen Forties to overdue evening political conferences within the Nineteen Sixties to illustrate the robust impression of social hobbies at the event of lifestyle. With assets starting from oral histories of Civil Rights and Black strength flow activists and males and females who stood at the sidelines to black well known magazines and the black circulation press, Ain't I a attractiveness Queen? will fascinate these drawn to good looks tradition, gender, category, and the dynamics of race and social activities.
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Extra resources for Ain't I A Beauty Queen?: Black Women, Beauty and the Politics of Race
When she introduced Nappy Hair into her classroom, the well-meaning Ruth Sherman became caught in a thicket of painful and still unresolved issues about race, beauty, self-worth, and self-deﬁnition, the very issues she had sought to address by introducing the book to her class. Two issues contributed to the intensity of the reaction against Sherman’s use of Nappy Hair. 44 Had that been the only issue present, the controversy might have been resolved when those protesting the book’s use were shown the book in its entirety and the curricular context in which Sherman had placed it.
The mother, Jones explained, wanted her daughter to look “presentable,” a word that implied both employable and non-threatening to whites. In the mother’s view, straightened hair was the only way to achieve that look. Cenen Moreno, another student present at the gathering, agreed: “They’re afraid for us. ”42 Some daughters resorted to deception to avoid arguments at home. Linda Burnham recalled “women who had to wear wigs, straight wigs till they got to the bus stop and then [took] their wigs off where they had a natural underneath.
Dark skin was a frequent target. ”17 The humor in both of these examples lies in the mother’s quantity or intensity of blackness. Since the form implies an insult, the negative value of black is taken for granted by the speaker and reinforced in the mind of the listener. When girls matured into young women, they encountered color prejudices in dating. Male supremacy operated in black communities no less than in the larger society. As women waited to be asked to dance, to be invited on a date, or to receive affection from men, they were vulnerable to and dependent on male assessments of their beauty.