Cornrows are a hairstyle with African origins with a long and fascinating history dating back to 3000 B.C. Although some cornrows are fashioned in neat linear rows, they can also be created in intricate geometric and curving designs, making them versatile and unique hairstyles B.C. The usage of cornrows by men can be traced as far back as the early 5th century BC, and they have since become a popular hairstyle for both men and women.
However, the real significance of cornrows lies in their use as a tool for rebellion and escape from slavery. When millions of Africans were forcefully taken from their continent to be free labor in South America, they were subjected to brutal practices created so the enslaved African communities would feel distant from their motherland. Many slaves were forced by their slave masters to shave their hair so that they would be more "sanitary." The real intention was to divorce Africans from their cultural identity and heritage, which was a cruel and inhumane practice.
Not all slaves would shave their heads, which is how cornrows became popular among the enslaved Africans. Many would braid their hair tightly in cornrows, which provided the African slave population with elaborate maps so that they could escape from the plantations. The cornrows were used to transfer and create maps to leave the captors' home. Such a method for running was easy to hide from the slave masters, and it allowed many slaves to escape to freedom.
The act of using hair as a tool for rebellion was also spread to other parts of South America that had African slave populations. The city of San Basilio de Palenque still exists and was declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005. It has a population of about 3500 people and is a testament to the resilience and strength of the African people who were brought to South America as slaves. The history of cornrows is a powerful reminder of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the human spirit in the face of adversity.