Writing Assignment Description:
This essay combines personal experiences with the pressure on the author as a young black woman to have “good hair” with a broader analysis of the heritage of slavery, oppression and white conception of beauty.
The essay was published as a stand-alone booklet by a school writing group called “Apples on a Lemon Tree (ALT) which is a collective of writers and artists from the Renaissance community publishing individual pieces of student work, collaborations/split issues, and Apples Annual, a year-end anthology of student work.”
This work is a final draft, created with peer editing and critique.
To see another work by the same author as a first grader click here.
How This Writing Can Be Useful:
- Emotionally powerful essay that uses personal experiences to illuminate deep questions about what it means to be black and female in America
- Figuratively connects the personal trauma of painful hair straightening with the painful heritage of slavery and oppression, using searing metaphor (e.g., the closing line is: “But for right now, I’m still a black girl, and I refuse to be left blind and burning anymore.”)
- Raises troubling questions of where our notions of beauty come from
- The voice is direct, pure, unapologetic, unadorned and authentic. The message is honest and brave.
Common Core State Standards
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