Teach our Black Girls: 18th Century Tignon Laws

Photo Credit: Juliana Kasumu

Wrap it up, that hair is to beautiful: 18th Century Tignon Laws

Did you know that once upon a time your curly/kinky hair was a crime in Louisiana? Does that sound insane to you? Well, it so true, it contributed to me throwing away my bundles years ago. In the late 18th century black and creole women were forced by LAW to cover up there hair with tignon wraps. It was ruled that apparently us Queens had hair that was way to fancy and caused all the white men to loose their minds that needless to say, the white women were envious and down right jealous of the pride and beauty we carried.

This was during a time when it was normal for white men to have mistresses and lets just say, most of these mistresses were not white women. They were black and creole, girl, they had that undeniably beautiful melanin in their system and white men were losing their minds over the sisters so much that these tignon laws were passed. These laws made black women cover their hair up, because to white women believed it was the hair that made us so undeniably beautiful. Laughable right?

Anyways , guess what happened next? Today, we would call it black girl magic. We obeyed their silly little law as we said “child please and laughed at our gatherings” (I’m just imagining this is what happened). We put on those tignon wraps, tied them in beautiful styles, placed feathers and jewels on them and rocked it! I mean, we literally flipped the law on them. These wraps accentuated our features and we were even more beautiful and stylish than before. Did they really think our hair was our only “poppin” feature? Did they really think they would forget we still had beautiful hair underneath those wraps? Did they really think we weren’t going to make these wraps the hottest accessory on the block?

“Ooooo girl, show me how you wrapped that tignon! That’s cute!”

Sisterhood in the 18th Century

Written By: Lakischa Smith

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