400 Years Without a Comb

--> On the journey of  discovery for more insight  into the hisory of African/Black Hair.I discovered a video called 400 Years Witout a Comb- The Inferior Seed by Willie Morrow, author of 400 Years Without A Comb. I must say that the acting is bit bad and the video quality is not soo great (its very old).However, the information in the entire set of  6 videos is very informative and insightful.
I'm glad I came across this information and I wish to share it with you.For those of you who may not have the time or video capacity to view the videos.I have below a summary of what the 400 years without a Comb is about.But I would love it if you watch the video itself.

It begins from the time before the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Willie Morrow explains that the Comb was not just merely an instument made for grooming the hair - it told a story.The designs depict the different tribes of differnt cultures. I was happy to learn that African men meticulously would carve combs for the love of the lives.
Unfortunately, the comb did not follow the African in the course of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
He described the Island of Goree, the last place the slaves would stay before being transported to the Americas. This physical deterioration and trauma paved way for the neurological collapse of the African and led to the planting of what he calls the "Inferior seed".

This part of the video actualy brought tears to my eyes . I watched as "a Slave Master to be" touched a male slave in a manner which could only pruport that there was something strange and wrong with him.Murrow talks of dissaperance of the comb , its re-emergence in the 19th century and the laboring of the slave which constituted perpetual judgery and pain.

House maids noticing the effect of soap on their hands , would apply light soap to their childrens faces in order to lighten their skin. As if to say that they wanted to lessen the pain they had come to associate to blackness
Mothers would also engage in pinching of their childrens noses to make it less broad and press their lips upways to supress their natural foldness.The suppression of the childs natural features led to the planting of the Inferior seed in the mind.The sexual sanctity of black woman was often called upon to satisfy masters desire and led to the breeding of mulattoos.

For the African mother, the deprivation of the traditional comb made combing her child's hair a daunting task for her.Thus grooming with became associated with pain due to the inability of the European comb to pass through African hair. He describes this as a painful experience for both of mother and child.
 This became so important to them that when a baby was born ,the very first concern of the mother was the complexion and hair texture. Dishwater  was used to wash hair, and slaves would also mix lye wih potatoes. They would apply to this mixture to their hair which would lead burns and scars .Slaves were willingly prepared to endure this pain in order to look like their master.

Infact it was the delight of the African mother to comb hair of their slave masters children compared to theirs .Black Hair became a source of shame and embarassment.At school, teachers would often emphasis on the nature of African hair.He emphasises that  no other race has collectively participated in such an exercise to change the nature of their hair.

The last video gave me shivers . It talks of the re-introduction  of the African comb by Wille Morrow. Black Hair became the symbol of new black pride in the 60's. It was a symbol of black defiance for the American system. Unfortunately, the spark never developed into a flame .
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Let me know your thoughts!!!


  1. Rosina10:54 am

    I think people put too much thought into the black hair/natural hair thing. Truly at the end of the day - it really is just hair. But then again, the lives and history we Africans in Africa have and the lives and history of Black Americans are very different. I think Black Americans have a lot of legitimate issues with their hair based on their history. However these are issues which are largely nonexistent to us black africans in Africa, (I am in Zambia, Southern Africa)

  2. ghanaianemprezz2:16 pm

    Thanks Rosina for your opinion.

  3. Looks very interesting i love historical videos looking forward to watching these thanks for the links

  4. Anonymous12:43 pm

    @ Rosina, I'm an American black woman and our struggles are real. Some women, nowadays, bleach their kids.... and don't tell them that they look in the least bit African, those are fighting words. They associate looking African with running around naked, dirty, and hungry. We are taught that Africans are uncivilized.... trust me, its not just hair. Its everything that links us to our African roots.


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