Independent Study Steps 3 & 4 – Annotated Bibliography


Banks, Ingrid. Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness. NYU Press, 2000.

Ingrid Banks compiled various first hand accounts of what it is like to navigate society as a black woman with kinky/coiled hair in her book Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness. She interviewed women ranging in age from teenager to elderly. Hair Matters: Beauty, Power, and Black Women’s Consciousness reveals black women’s  ideas about race, gender, sexuality, beauty, and power through the various exchanges transcribed within. By allowing these women to share their hair stories, Banks also allows them to share their larger perspectives of their communities and the mainstream culture that defines “normalcy”. I think that this piece will be useful to my final project because it has a wide range of subjects that are all speaking on a topic (kinky/coiled hair and the experiences of black women in American society) that is extremely close to the chosen topic for my independent study. I am most interested in taking a look at the accounts of young adult to middle aged women in corporate America as to get a more realistic account (outside of my own experience) of what it looks like navigating the beauty standards set by American society and how that can effect their ability to thrive within the workplace.

Caldwell, Paulette M. “A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Gender.” Duke Law Journal, vol. 1991, no. 2, 1991, pp. 365–396. JSTOR,

**First things first, I was to say that this article was very enjoyable to read through. if you have a second and you’re somewhat interested in the topic and law/legislation you might like it.**

In this article, Paulette Caldwell takes a deeper look into the ruling in the case of Rogers vs American Airlines where it was decided that braided hairstyles were permitted t be banned by employers if they so choose. It was argued that braids are not truly a style that is tied to any one particular culture and therefore should be easily changeable. Caldwell take a stance in this article disparaging the court’s decision in the matter as it protected employer’s rights to mandate hair and dress codes that effectively allow for workplace discrimination on the grounds of the physical appearance of black women. She sums it all up saying “black women are the immediate, although and material representation of the intersection of race and gender” (372). This piece is going to be extremely relevant in the composition of the final portion of my project as it draws it’s premise from a primary source (Rogers vs American Airlines) and provides readers with Caldwell’s (an expert on race and civil rights with a concentration on discrimination in employment and public education law) take on how the decision effectively stigmatized African American women in the workplace.

Griffin, Chanté. “How Natural Black Hair at Work Became a Civil Rights Issue”. JSTOR Daily, 2019. JSTOR,

This article follows a time line of the evolution of black women’s hairstyle choices throughout the decades skillfully weaving a timeline that is easy to follow. Simultaneously, Griffin sheds light on the ways in which black women’s physical appearance, special their hairstyle choices, allow for workplace discrimination and refusal of job offers in some cases. This practice is effectively supported by the Eleventh Circuit (U.S. Court of Appeals) who ruled in favor of Catastrophe Management Solution in the case bought up against them by Chastity Jones, a prospective employee who was asked to cut off her dreads in order to accept the offer. Of course, she refused and was unfortunately denied the job offer altogether. I think that this article will be a helpful resource when creating my final project as it gets even further than just stating an argument and listing the facts that back it up. The timeline format really gives readers who are new to this information a clear insight as to why black women have felt for many years that the key to social and economic success in American society is straighter hair and fairer skin dating as far back as the 1700s. Griffin also gives readers an account of natural hair as a movement and the ways in which it has swelled and diminished as images of acceptance change throughout the decades.

Kimbell, Regina, and Mary Huelsbeck. “A Black Camera Interview: Nappy or Straight: Must We Choose? Regina Kimbell on Black Hair-Itage.” Black Camera, 22/23, 2008, pp. 54–58. JSTOR,

I focused on an excerpt of this article that I felt was relevant to my topic of choice. In the chosen excerpt, Kimbell has gotten to the point of the interview where she is asked about her documentary “My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage” by interviewee Mary Huelsbeck. Huelsbeck asks her various questions surrounding the origin of the film’s title and concept. Kimbell responds by sharing that she developed the documentary to aid her daughter who was chosen to submit a contribution to the NAACP ACT-SO ( the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) competition. The film was able to effectively convey how African American hair is a sign of individuality and how hair texture and/or style can determine the social and economic status of African American people specifically, African American women. Kimbell also goes into personal accounts of her daughter’s and her own experience within their respective hair journeys that prepared them to create their content. I have not watched Kimbell’s documentary as of yet but, I think it could be a great agent to my final project paired with the interview transcript. The interview also covers the significance of hair within African cultures and how it can mold stereotypes that are taken as fact by misinformed individuals both inside and outside of the community.

Randle, Brenda A. “African American Women and Their Struggles with Embracing Natural Hair!” Race, Gender & Class, vol. 22, no. 1-2, 2015, pp. 114–121. JSTOR,

Brenda A. Randle uses this article to provide in depth insight to the title subject. She discusses the chemical processes that African American put their natural hair through in order to achieve a straighter texture that would be more widely accepted in American society. She sheds light on the “good hair vs bad hair” complex that exists within African American society that groups looser curls patterns in the “good hair” category and kinkier/coiled textures as “bad hair”. Having this type of stigma exist within the African American community allows for the validation of its belief by society as a whole. The groundwork for the elimination of these categorizations starts within the community, for sure however, these speculations based on hair texture shouldn’t exist on either side. She also goes into whether or not natural (unprocessed) hair is acceptable within the workplace and if the preference of most employers leans more towards European textured/inspired hairstyles (i.e. weaves, extensions, wigs) on African American women. This aids her effort in relating the issues of the stunted socioeconomic growth of African American women to how they choose to wear their hair to work.

All sources listed were sources found using (or can be found within) the JSTOR database. The JSTOR database houses articles from scholarly, peer-reviewed, academic, and refereed journals that are considered more credible than articles from popular journals. This is because the content is reviewed by experts on the relating subject. You can also easily find sources/citations that support the given topic being conveyed by the author. (**Step 3**)

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