Analysis Of Black Is Beautiful Movement Of The Black
Research Question: To what extent did the ‘Black-Is-Beautiful’ Movement of the 1960’s promote black expression and further debates regarding ‘natural hair’?
In order to facilitate an understanding of the perspective of George S. Schuyler, the “skeptical Negro” who “debunks natural hair” and criticizes “Black is Beautiful” in the project’s main Special Collections source, it is first important to establish key information regarding his outlook. Born in 1895, Schuyler was raised by his conservative mother in Syracuse, NY, where he experienced the sting of racial discrimination due to the city’s small black population and the historical context of the time period. In 1912, …show more content…
While it is true that the Movement was heavily associated with the rebellion of black nationalism, its significance went beyond that. Through Robin D. G. Kelley’s article “Nap Time: Historicizing the Afro,” it can be determined that the reasons for the re-emergence of the Afro during the 1960’s was a statement which transcended being solely political in nature, and one that also focused on self- determination, rejection of Westernized notions of beauty, and simple aestheticism (Kelley 341, 344). In a society that rejected African Americans for their physical differences, the wearing of ‘natural hair’ was a symbol of black liberation, an expressive form of freedom from a system of rigid standards which stated that “good hair” was straight and smooth, and “bad hair” was kinky and coarse. For black women especially, “Black Is Beautiful” and the encouragement of going ‘natural’ not only valorized their identity, it also allowed them to directly reject the conception of female beauty proclaimed by their society (Kelley 348). What Schuyler saw as a “dust-mop”