The common image of Rosa Parks is a bespectacled woman with hair pulled back. But Parks’ had waist-length hair that she did not reveal publicly. Political science professor Jeanne Theoharis, author of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, discusses this in a Huffington Post piece;

“Many of Parks’ ancestors were Indians. She noted this to a friend who was surprised when in private Parks removed her hairpins and revealed thick braids of wavy hair that fell below her waist. Her husband, she said, liked her hair long and she kept it that way for many years after his death, although she never wore it down in public. Aware of the racial politics of hair and appearance, she tucked it away in a series of braids and buns — maintaining a clear division between her public presentation and private person.”

In this rare vintage photo, Parks can be seen taking down her waist-length hair at night.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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19 Comments on "Vintage Photo Shows Rosa Parks Taking Down Her Waist-Length Hair at Night"

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bailove

She wasnt even black, she was picked over Claudette because she was light and bright, they didnt want a unwed pregnant Dark Skin Black teenager to be one of the faces of the movement, so they planned the entire thing months later with Parks.

I swear every black movement is a joke, full of self hate, white worshiping black males who fight for themselves being equals to the white male and fuck white females while abusing Black Women in all forms.
Black Women need to wake up.

Naya

Powerful… and to think that decades beyond Rosa Parks’s time, the “racial politics of hair and appearance” still exists. But I will continue to be optimistic in seeing the proverbial glass as “half full,” and note that, in general we have indeed made progress (despite some of the current increase in racial tensions), thank God! I guess every step truly does start with one step at a time.

Naya
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Renae

Didn’t a lot of women (across the racial spectrum), in the early-mid-20th century wear their hair tucked away?

DMac

I love this. Not every day do I get to see a hero show me 3a-3c hair waist length with out breakage or looking pale skinned. All black girls don’t have 4c hair

Rhi

she doesn’t have 3a or 3b. It’s fully straight like a white persons or some black people’s in rare cases. And no one ever said that black girls all have 4c so IDK why you said that. That’s not even a popular stereotype. She literally doesn’t have afrocentric hair.

tellmeaboutit

wow, that’s really something that she had to tuck away her hair, or she felt like she had to, at least. Reminds me of the politics surrounding the Tignon laws in Louisiana.

cara

I never thought she HAD to tuck in her hair, I though it reflected how most women wore their hair at that time.

Devi

‘…white and Native American ancestry that reflected in her hair.’ What does this actually mean?

Hello

It means that throughout history one can see, and particularly with regard to Rosa Parks’ ancestry; you can see the similarities in her hair with that of Caucasian and Native American people.

That’s what it actually means.

tellmeaboutit

Yeah, that’s my understanding of what that line meant, too.

max

It means that technically she isn’t black,she’s mixed and if people oppose that then they are saying people who are mixed with other races are black,then you’re dismissing these people’s identity.

Teeny

Wasn’t the whole reason they picked her over the the first woman is because she looked like she had considerable admixture. She looks like she could be Sade’s mother. They’re like twins.

Bella

No. They picked her over the other woman because the other woman was unmarried and pregnant. In those days a woman pregnant out of wedlock would have gotten no sympathy. It wasn’t a good look for the movement.

Nia

Rosa Parks is beautiful! My comment/question is nothing against Mrs. Parks or the author of this piece.
I’d genuinely like to know if there is some sort of proof or evidence to back up that the fact that if a person has Anglo Saxon and Native Indian ancestry that they’ll have long wavy hair. Isn’t it possible that someone without that heritage could have long wavy hair as well??

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