“If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred” -Walt Whitman I Sing the Body Electric
In many ways the next chapter in the clothes free history of Africans and their descendants in Europe and the Americas could be described as a journey from the sacred to the profane. The cultural and religious values of European colonists judged the natural, logical states of dress of the indigenous Africans to be profane, barbaric, savage and uncivilized. The colonial era and the accompanying slave trade which brought Africans into contact with Europeans who had a limited view of the world, amplified this perspective. The European populous was exposed to body shapes and skin color they had never seen before.
Her “unusual” physical characteristics though not unnatural for Khoisan (Khoikhoi) women were considered freakish by Europeans in London and then Paris. Many African-American women will recognize the body shape that was…
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