This month we want to reflect on the historic accomplishments of Black women that are overshadowed and under appreciated. Phillis Wheatley Peters, Winnie Mandela, Marsha P. Johnson, and Wangari Maathai were women of resilience.
Although they all fought vastly different battles against oppression and injustice on different parts of the globe and throughout different times in history, they are all connected through their self-expression of the head dress.
Phillis Wheatley Statue in the Boston Women's Memorial. Photo Christoph Kilger
Phillis Wheatley Peters put pen to paper and became the first African American to publish a book in the United States in 1773, all while wearing a bonnet.
Marsha P. Johnson, Joseph Ratanski and Sylvia Rivera in the 1973 NYC Gay Pride Parade by Gary LeGault
Marsha P. Johnson, often known for decorating her hair with head wraps, jewels, and flowers threw the first brick at The Stonewall Inn, igniting the flame that would become the LGBTQ+ liberation movement.
Nelson Mandela et Winnie Mandela sur la scène du Champ-de-Mars à Montréal, 19 juin 1990
Winnie Mandela, the beloved South African anti-apartheid activist known for her elaborate and colorful head wraps and garb, would engage in acts of defiance and disobidence for the rights of South Africans of color.
Wangari Maathai, Seattle, April 2009
Scholar and politician, Wangari Maathai, fought to protect the environment and human rights of citizens in Central and East Africa in her traditional Dhuku.
For Black and Brown women, headwear has been a consistent cultural marker that has kept them allied and a tradition that The Wrap Life strives to not only keep alive, but help flourish and prosper. This month, honor these extraordinary women by uplifting Black voices and causes and engaging in your truest definition of self-expression.
About the author
Bianca Cruz, wearing our Pleated Head Wrap in Coco
Bianca Cruz is a Wrap Life model and editorial assistant at Clarkson Potter. She graduated from Hunter College in New York City with a bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts with a minor in German. Following her internship at Oxford University Press, Bianca attended the Columbia Publishing Course and now attends the Institute of Culinary Education where she is currently pursuing her dreams of becoming a Chef.