Black History Month; Remembering the Past, while building to the future
Marcus Garvey said “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”.
Black History Month is here, and while many will say there should not be a black history month. We will say to that, as long as you look at a black person and see their color first, then their sex, and then that they are american they will always be a need to honor the struggles of Black people to be equal in America. And while we have come such a long way to our first black american president today, we have to look back to appreciate the achievements of Black People in America. And of course, the fashion!
Let’s start with Sunday, in 1800’s slave ships stop coming to america, which increase the cost of the slave. Slave owners gave sunday off, which we used the day to get dressed up in our best clothing and hairstyles. A tradition that still lives on to this day!
As 1900’s approach black’s entered into the hair care business. This created one of the first black women millionaires, Madam CJ Walker! Black People begin to make, sell and own businesses with hair care industry.
During the 1930’s, the first African American women to appear in American mainstream film was Nina Mae McKinney. She was also the first african american who signed a five year contact with MGM studios. After MGM cut her scenes out of most films. She left American and began working in Europe where she got the nickname “The Black Garbo” because of her charms and beauty.
One of the most iconic costume the Playboy Bunny suit was made by a black designer, Zelda Wynn Valdes. In 1934, the first black miss america pageant was started, then later in 1984, Vanessa Williams was the first Black women to be Miss America.
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In 1966, the first african american women to appear on any fashion cover was Donyale Luna. Born in Detroit Michigan. She appeared on British Vogue Magazine in March 1966. Later in 1974, Beverly Johnson was the first african american to appear on an American Vogue Magazine.