More Than A Hairstyle: How Braids Were Used To Help Free Slaves

portrait of an young African with braids, isolated on white

Nowadays, braids are a protective and creative style women use to show off their personal style, their creativeness or protect their hair and scalp. But centuries before, braids were much more than just a hairstyle.

Braids are a part of the tribal customs in Africa. The braid patterns signify the tribe and help to identify the member of the tribe. The cultural significance and roots of braiding can be traced back to the African tribes.

There are many interesting beliefs associated with braids. Braid patterns or hairstyles indicate a person’s community, age, marital status, wealth, power, social position, and religion.

 

Depictions of women with cornrows have been found in Stone Age paintings in the Tassili Plateau of the Sahara, and have been dated as far back as 3000 B.C. There are also Native American paintings