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Antebellum African Americans

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Dress figures prominently in the recollections of Africans enslaved in the United States. These remembrances include the published memoirs of people who escaped the South before emancipation and the narrations of approximately two thousand formerly enslaved people collected in the 1930s under the auspices of the U.S. government. They described in detail the clothing given them by owners and other means by which they acquired it. They described everyday wear, and dress for special events such as h

African American Dress

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: The Berg Companion to Fashion 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Conventional Work Dress

Colleen Gau

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Global Perspectives 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Historically, climate and work environments are primary to the selection and production of work clothing, but safety concerns, economic and business climates, fashion, and ethics find a place in the clothing narrative of Western civilizations. As crops and animals were domesticated, empires emerged in the Nile and Mediterranean regions, and the classification of skill groups became more distinct. Animal skins were replaced by woven garments by the time people had settled into communities. Herding

African American

Gwendolyn S. O’Neal

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Inarguably, the dress practices of many African Americans differ from those of the dominant culture. African American dress practices are both complex and diverse and are rooted in a cultural aesthetic that can be called neither African nor American. The forced symbiosis of African and American culture produced a group of people the civil rights leader W.E.B. DuBois characterized as having a “double consciousness”—a sense of being neither fully American nor fully African. The competing systems of

Immigrants Encounter North American Dress

Linda Welters

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. The United States and Canada 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Immigrants face many challenges when settling in a new country as they arrive with different cultural beliefs and practices. Immigrants may elect to reject the old and adapt their beliefs to their new culture, to preserve their “Old World” culture, or to blend some aspects of their cultural heritage into their lives as immigrants. The process by which one group takes on the cultural traits of a larger group is called assimilation. A related concept is acculturation, which is a change in the cultu

African American Enslavement and Escaping in Disguise

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: Dress Sense. Emotional and Sensory Experiences of the Body and Clothes 2007

Book chapter

Instances wherein dress or its absence became the type of degrading torture inflicted by white “masters” included: additions to the body, such as brands, iron chains, mangles, and headgear; the forced wearing of clothes of the opposite sex; and the subtraction of clothing, particularly stripping the body before flogging. Of topical interest, the memories of punishments delivered during the period of enslavement form a basis which demonstrates that the more recent, early twenty-first-century insta

Jamaica in the Nineteenth Century to the Present

Steeve O. Buckridge

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The island of Jamaica is the third-largest nation in the Caribbean or the West Indies. The island has a population of 2.6 million people. The country’s capital, Kingston, lies at the foot of the Blue Mountains, with its highest peak reaching 7,402 feet (2,256 meters), making it the highest peak in the Caribbean. Jamaica gained its independence from Britain in 1962. However, it remains a member of the British Commonwealth and has a constitutional parliamentary democracy system with a prime ministe

Nineteenth-Century Afro-Brazilian Women’s Dress

Kelly Mohs Gage

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The wealth originating from Brazil for the Portuguese Crown was generated by thousands of enslaved African plantation workers. At the dawning of the nineteenth century, there was a considerable African population in Brazil. The dress of both enslaved and freed Afro-Brazilians was linked to their African past while also incorporating European and Brazilian elements. However, African dress elements are not indicators of freedom or slavery, as there were many free Africans in Brazil. African women’s

Nineteenth-Century Afro-Brazilian Men’s Dress

Kelly Mohs Gage

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Slavery had an early and lasting impact on the cultural makeup of the colony and country of Brazil. The long-standing connection of Portugal to the African slave trade began well before the “discovery” of Brazil in 1500. This connection made the subsequent introduction and transportation of slaves to Brazil relatively easy, as the Portuguese had established links with slave traders in Africa and slave shippers ready to be involved in a new market.Annual slave imports into Brazil peaked in the ear

Trinidad in the Nineteenth Century

Dominique Heyse-Moore

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The nineteenth century saw great change on the island of Trinidad, particularly the end of slavery and the arrival of many groups of people from across the world. People from many parts of Africa, Europe, Asia, and other parts of the Americas (and their descendants) all lived there. There are many clear distinctions between the ways that different social and ethnic groups dressed; yet, these groups also began to influence each other’s dress and adapted to their new environment. Unfortunately, ver

Introduction: Warping a Folk History

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

Material culture is made up of tangible things crafted, shaped, altered, and used across time and across space . . .. It is art, architecture, food, clothing, and furnishing. But more so, it is the weave of these objects in the everyday lives of individuals and communities.

Beginning in Africa

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

Everything will be done to wipe out their traditions, to substitute our traditions for theirs and to destroy their culture without giving them ours (Franz Fanon 1963).

Constructing Cloth and Clothing in the Antebellum South

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

. . . the making of a piece of cloth is never just the making of a piece of cloth . . . (John Picton 1995:13).

Wearing Antebellum Clothing

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than merely to keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.

Having Footwear

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

Malinda Murphy (b. ca, 1857): We had no shoes and made tracks of blood in de snow (11. 8:261 [MO]).

Embellishing the Head

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

I commented on her chic new hairstyle, and she told me she loved to experiment with her hair (Cathleen Rountree in an interview with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, 1993:44).

Crowning the Person

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

‘Ogea, please get my head-tie, I am going out now’ (Flora Nwapa, Nigeria, 1978:176).

Clothing as the Weft of a Folk History

Helen Bradley Foster

Source: “New Raiments of Self”. African American Clothing in the Antebellum South 1997

Book chapter

Aunt Permahoule, for whom marvels and folklore were the warp and woof of her life, had a different explanation (Stratis Myrivilis 1959:82).

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