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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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.


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.

IG: maghairng


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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??