Head Fragment from Mali

3.1. Spring MVC Configuration

To enable Thymeleaf and set the template suffix, we need to configure MVC with a view resolver and template resolver.

We'll also set the directory for some static resources:

Note that if we're using Spring Boot, this configuration may not be necessary unless we need to apply our own customizations.

3.2. The Controller

In this case, the controller is just a vehicle for the views. Each view shows a different fragment use scenario.

The last one loads some data that is passed through the model to be displayed on the view:

Note that the view names must contain the “.html” suffix because of the way we configured our resolver. We'll also specify the suffix when we refer to fragment names.

Head Fragment from Mali - History

The African American Woman's Headwrap: Unwinding the Symbols

THE AFRICAN AMERICAN headwrap holds a distinctive position in the history of American dress both for its longevity and for its potent signification's. It endured the travail of slavery and never passed out of fashion. The headwrap represents far more than a piece of fabric wound around the head.

This distinct cloth head covering has been called variously "head rag," "head-

tie," "head handkerchief," "turban," or "headwrap." I use the latter term here. The headwrap usually completely covers the hair, being held in place by tying the ends into knots close to the skull. As a form of apparel in the United States, the headwrap has been exclusive to women of African descent.

The headwrap originated in sub-Saharan Africa, and serves similar functions for both African and African American women. In style, the African American woman's headwrap exhibits the features of sub-Saharan aesthetics and worldview. In the United States, however, the headwrap acquired a paradox of meaning not customary on the ancestral continent. During slavery, white overlords imposed its wear as a badge of enslavement! Later it evolved into the stereotype that whites held of the "Black Mammy" servant. The enslaved and their descendants, however, have regarded the headwrap as a helmet of courage that evoked an image of true homeland-be that ancient Africa or the newer homeland, America. The simple head rag worn by millions of enslaved women and their descendants has served as a uniform of communal identity but at its most elaborate, the African American woman's headwrap has functioned as a "uniform of rebellion" signifying absolute resistance to loss of self-definition.'

This study examines the multi-layered meanings acquired by the headwrap over several centuries. The intent is to show that the headwrap is African in style but, as worn by African American women, the traditions regarding its use could only have been forged in the crucible of American slavery and its aftermath.

The impetus for this research comes from the comments made by approximately two thousand formerly' enslaved African Americans who recounted their experiences and contributed their oral histories to the Federal Writers' Project in 1936 to 1938. The result was an abbreviated compendium entitled Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves (B.A. Botkin, Chief Editor, Washington, 1941). Subsequently, George P, Rawick assembled the entire body of material for publication as a forty-volume compilation, The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (1972, 1977, and 1979). Hereafter, I cite the Rawick volumes as Narratives.

Tying a piece of cloth around the head is not specific to any one cultural group. Men and women have worn and continue to wear some type of fabric head covering in many societies. What does appear to be culturally specific, however, is the way the fabric is worn in other words, the style in which the fabric is worn is the ultimate cultural marker. Here, .style" is not used to mean a particular fashion. Rather, I use the term to mean a studied way of presenting the self-an idea of how one ought to appear before others. In order to explore this concept, careful note must be taken of the significant difference between the style of cloth head coverings as worn by white women and the headwrap as styled by black women.

To wrap her head, a European or white American woman simply folds a square piece of fabric into a triangular shape and covers her hair by tying the fabric under her chin or, less often, by tying it at the nape of the neck. In either case, the untied points of fabric are left to fall down over the back of the head. The Euro American style results in a head covering which flattens against the head and encloses the face, and thus visually seems to pull the head down. The terms "scarf" or "kerchief" usually denote this type of head covering. Scarves are not particularly popular items of white American women's fashion today, but when they are worn, they consistently are arranged in the manner just described.2

By contrast, a woman of African ancestry folds the fabric into a rectilinear shape rather than into a triangle. The most significant difference between the Euro- American and Afro-centric manner of styling the cloth is that rather than tying the knot under her chin, the African American woman usually ties the knots somewhere on the crown of her head, either at the top or on the sides, often tucking the ends into the wrap.

Although the African American woman sometimes ties the fabric at the nape of the neck, her form of styling always leaves her forehead and neck exposed and, by leaving her face open, the headwrap visually enhances the facial features. The African American headwrap thus works as a regal coronet, drawing the onlooker's gaze up, rather than down. In effect, African and African American women wear the headwrap as a queen might wear a crown. In this way the headwrap corresponds to African and African American women's manner of hair styling, wherein the hair is pulled so as to expose the forehead and is often drawn to a heightened mass on top of the head. In striking comparison, the scarf worn by white women emulates the way in which the hair of people of European ancestry naturally grows: falling downward and often arranged to cover the forehead.

Another outstanding difference between the two ways of wearing the head- wrap is that, in contrast to the singular manner by which white women wrap their hair in fabric, African American women exhibit a seemingly endless repertoire of elaborations on the basic mode. One of the earliest extant group photographs of southern African Americans provides striking evidence for this very improvisation on the squared swatch of cloth. In the photo, taken in the early 1860s, the headwraps crafted by both black women and men are far more ornamental than the simple Euro American scarf. Most important, the photo shows twelve newly "freed" African Americans wearing headwraps in twelve different ways none, however, tied below the head.


The thirty years before the Civil War is generally considered the antebellum period in American history. Throughout these decades, women's headcoverings served various purposes, just as they have over other historical periods and in other places. In addition to being simple fashion statements, women's head coverings have denoted age and religious beliefs as well as marital, gender and class status. Before focusing on the functions of the antebellum headwrap, it is necessary to look at the backdrop of hat styles favored by European and American white women previous to 1865.

African American dress, including head coverings, had elements common to that found in contemporary white America. The assimilation of European-American fashion reflects the universal human regard we all have for outward signs of stability more to the point, it reflects an ability on the part of the displaced Africans to improvise and to creatively adopt new materials. Concerning head coverings, black women apparently took their cues from white women, just as white American women through the last century emulated their European counterparts by covering their hair for most public functions, as well as in the home. Enslaved women wore types of head coverings-from simple straw hats to the contemporary fashionable bonnets-that were similar to those worn by white women. At certain events, however, neither white nor black women were expected to cover their heads. At dances, for example, pictorial evidence shows both groups of women with only flowers adorning their hair. Lewis Miller's watercolor, Lynchburg-negro dance, 1853, is an African American example.

African American women might also uncover their hair for other occasions. For example, Elsie Clews Parsons, writing earlier in this century, said that South Carolina Sea Islands' "Women, old and young, quite commonly wear kerchiefs around the head and tied at the back" and the hair was wrapped in strings under the headwrap. Parsons significantly added the point that "often it will not be combed out until a person is 'going somewhere'" (1923:204). Similarly, Sylvia Boone's 1986 description of modem Mende women in Sierra Leone shows the headwrap may also serve to protect an African woman's well-groomed hair until it is time to expose it. Boone writes:

. a woman always goes to a man's room with her hair neat and if she wants to make a special impression, she will sport a new and elegant style well done. Since the woman would have left her quarters with her head under wraps so that will not see her hair, the man will have the flattering feeling that she went through so much time and trouble to fashion herself for his eyes alone. Even in the mawe compound, when a wife has to walk only a few yards to her husband, she will follow the rituals of "going to a man's room" and arrive in a headtie covering her coiffure (189).

Thus, when nineteenth-century enslaved African American women wore hats or bonnets or left their hair uncovered, they not only conformed to normative customs in fashion prevalent for all Western women of the period, but also to an African aesthetic. What distinguished the black woman, of course, was that at certain times she, alone, donned a headwrap.

Because the headwrap is such an outstanding feature of the enslaved women's dress, it is important to note how they acquired them. During the period of enslavement, African American women came by the fabric for their headwraps in various ways. The anonymous Mississippi planter who wrote "Management of Negroes Upon Southern Estates" (1851) noted: "I give to my negroes four full suits of clothes with two pairs of shoes, every year, and to my women and girls a calico dress and two handkerchiefs extra" (624). The supposition that the women wore their "two handkerchiefs extra" as head- wraps is supported by J. C. Fumas who reports that among "(t)he annual issue for 200 slaves on the Coffin plantation on St. Helena island, South Carolina . 100 turban hand- kerchiefs" were distributed (1956:94).

Besides the head handkerchiefs given to them by plantation "masters". black women supplemented headwraps by other means. Elizabeth Botume gives an example. In 1863, Botume arrived in Beaufort, South Carolina, among the earliest of the Northern teachers who volunteered to teach black refugees during the "Port Royal Experiment." Botume wrote of her experiences with the newly "freed" blacks, and her observations offer invaluable, first-hand reports of a people who were on the cusp between one way

of life and a different one. Botume's description of the people who greeted her boat as it docked at Beaufort contains an itemization of the women's clothes: "Some of the women had on old, cast-off soldier's coats, with 'crocus bags,' fastened together with their own ravellings, for skirts, and bits of sailcloth for head handkerchiefs" (1893) 1968: 32).

Since most cloth was produced domestically, and quite often by black women, remnants for headwraps could be procured directly from weavers. Charlie Hudson, who was born in 1858, and enslaved in Georgia, remembered: "What yo' wore on yo' haid was a cap made out of scraps of cloth dey wove in de loom right dar on our plantation to make pants for de grown folks" (Narratives, Vol. 12.2:224).

Frederick Law Olmstead, a northern white who traveled in the South before the American Civil War, tells of yet another way in which blacks acquired headwraps: "(The negroes) also purchase clothing for themselves, and, I note especially, are well sup- plied with handkerchiefs, which the men frequently, and the women nearly always, wear on their heads" (82).

Although the headwrap became a form of head covering specific to African American women, no clear-cut, single reason accounts for this long-standing item in their dress. In some instances, whites devised reasons for black women to wear the headwrap. In other instances, the purposes for donning the headwrap developed from within the black communities. No matter where these functions originated, the headwrap worked at several overlapping and sometimes conflicting levels ranging from the symbolic to the utilitarian.

One symbolic function of the headwrap was to maintain Southern white power in a society based economically and socially on racial slavery. Noteworthy in this respect are the ordinances which regulated African American dress throughout the South during the eighteenth century (Wares, 1981:131-136). In effect, whites used these dress codes to outwardly distinguish those without power from those who held it. The earliest, South Carolina's Negro Act of 1735, "specifically set a standard of dress for the enslaved and free African Americans" (ibid. 132). In 1740 amendments, South Carolina's slave code further elaborated the dress regulations (Genovese, 1974:359). In 1786, while Louisiana was a Spanish colony, the governor enacted a dress code which forbade: "females of color . to wear plumes or jewelry" this law specifically required "their hair bound in a kerchief" (Crete, 1981: 80-81 also Gayarre, 1885: 178-179 and Wares, 1981:135).

In the antebellum period, the Southern whites' concern regarding the symbol- ism inherent in the dress of African Americans continued. Citing one instance, Richard C. Wade writes that a Savannah editor bemoaned the "extravagant" dress of city blacks. Wade says that the journalist, " observing that a turban or handkerchief for the head was good enough for peasants. noted that 'with our city colored population the old fashioned turban seems fast disappearing' " (Savannah Republican 6 June 1849, quoted in Wade, 1981:128-129).

The preceding codes and comments show that whites expected the headwrap to mark the black women's social status as different from that of women in the white community. In addition, headwraps functioned as status symbols within the African American communities Louis Hughes, born 1843, enslaved in Mississippi and Virginia, noted: "The cotton clothes worn by both men and women (house servants), and the turbans of the latter, were snowy white" (1897) 1969:43). After the family moved to the city, Hughes recalled, "Each of the women servants wore a new gay colored turban, which was tied differently from that of the ordinary servant, in some fancy knot" (42).

The type of labor expected of enslaved women offers several purely utilitarian functions for wearing the headwrap which was more easily acquired and of simpler material than were more ornate millinery items. Ebenezer Brown, enslaved in Mississippi, said: "(My mammy) wrap her hair, and tie it up in a cloth. My mammy cud tote a bucket of water on her head and never spill a drop. I seed her bring that milk in great big buckets from de pen on her head an' never lose one drop" (Narratives, Vol. S1.6.1:249). Brown's description offers one reason why the headwrap was a necessity for, a thick headwrap offered protection when carrying loads on the head.

In the agrarian South, the headwrap also functioned to absorb perspiration in the same way that a bandana tied around the neck serves this purpose for farmers or ranchers working in the sun. In addition, headwraps protected woman's hair from grime. Testimony documents the paucity of bathing facilities available to the enslaved African Americans, as well as the lack of time necessary to keep themselves groomed and clean. The headwrap also served to keep the frequent infestations of lice under cover.3

The headwrap served in another purely expedient capacity as an article of clothing which could be used to cover the hair quickly when there was not adequate time to make it "presentable." Gloria Goode advances this argument in her recent dissertation on nineteenth-century African American women ministers wherein she includes a section on the costumes adopted by these women, all of whom were "free." Commenting on the biographical portrait of Hannah Tranks Carson (1864), Goode notes that Carson is shown "in a stereotypical manner in homely dress." Goode continues: "Obviously . if she (Carson) had possessed the strength, she would have discarded the head kerchief for a bonnet." Goode then presents her rationale for this argument: "The kerchief is an adoption of the black woman's manner of dealing with her 'unpresentable' hair. It is tied in a traditional style covering the forehead" (1990: 388). The novelist Buchi Emecheta demonstrates a recent Nigerian example of the Afro-centric taboo against leaving unkempt hair uncovered: "(T)hey saw a young woman of twenty-five, with long hair not too tidily plaited and with no head-tie to cover it . her hair (was) too untidy to be left uncovered. " (1988:8).

Well into the twentieth century, the headwrap continued to be used as a conveniently serviceable item used to cover "unpresentable hair." This is illustrated in the Narratives where a number of the interviews begin with the interviewer's own narrative

"pictures" of the interviewees. The following depictions aid in assessing the iconography which American whites applied to African American women. The descriptions are of equal importance because they show that seventy years after emancipation, older, southern black women continued to wear some form of hair covering similar to that worn by women during the period of enslavement-and that the headwrap remained the most common form.

From Georgia: "Aunt Fannie Hughes" was seated on the narrow front porch with two small piccaninnies playing at her feet when we made our visit. Her tall, gaunt figure was clothed in a neat plaid cotton dress . On her head was a cloth sugar sack (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1. Vol. 3.1:329).

From Georgia: Martha Everettes . was seated on the front porch of her son's home . Her grizzled hair was covered by a white towel (S1.3.1:236(GA))

From Indiana, the interviewer paraphrased Callie Bracey's description of her

mother Louise Turrell who had been enslaved in Mississippi: "Louise . never had a hat, always wore a rag tied over her head" (Narratives, Vol. 6.2:26).

From Georgia: Seemingly the only real wide awake person on the place was Aunt Jemirna, the housekeeper . brown of complexion, with her kinky hair entirely hidden by a bright bandana, she was truly a picture (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1, Vol. 3.1:339).

From Ohio: Hanna Fambro, a checked gingham turban wound about her head . presents the delightful picture of a real southern mammy (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1, Vol. 5.2:332).

From Georgia: A white cloth, tied turban fashion about her (Georgia Baker, 87 years) head . completed her costume (Narratives, Vol. 12.1:38).

From Alabama: "Aunt Nicey" had on a blue dress, with a white head rag. (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1, Vol. 1:297).

From Mississippi: Her (Chaney Moore Williams, b. ca. 1852, d. 1937) hair was

gray and worn in small twists, her head was tied in a large "head rag" (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1, Vol. 10.5:2304).

From Georgia: Her (Callie Elder, 78 years) crudely fashioned blue dress was

of a coarse cotton fabric and her dingy head rag had long lost its original color (Narratives, Vol 12.1:306).

From Georgia: Camilla Jackson wears a white rag around her head and is always spotlessly clean (Narratives, Vol. 12.2:295).

From Mississippi: Harriet Walker, (b. ca. 1852) . is about eighty-five years of

age, and is a typical "black mammy" type . She wears a large cloth tied neatly and snugly around her head, which is called a "head rag" by the negroes (Narratives, Suppl. Series 1, Vol. 10.5: 2157).

From Georgia: A large checkered apron almost covered her (Lulu Battle) dress and a clean white headcloth concealed her hair (Narratives, Vol. 12.1:61).

From Georgia: Her (Julia Bunch, 85 years) head closely wrapped in a dark bandana, from which the gray hair peeped at intervals forming a frame for her face (Narratives, Vol. 12.1:155).

Margaret Davis Cate, observing African Americans on the Georgia Sea Islands in the 1930s, wrote:

Fashions come and go, but Sibby (Kelly) never changed from the old-fashioned method of tying up her head. A piece of white cloth folded smoothly above the forehead and tied in the back with the ends hanging down on the back of the neck was the proper method and she stuck to it (Cate, 1955: 195, photograph on facing page).

The preceding glosses by white observers offer a clear picture of the headwrap as an outstanding item of dress for Southern black women, but these comments also reflect that the headwrap provided an important material symbol by which whites have long stereotyped black women.

In addition to white-enforced dress codes, and the headwrap's more practical uses, under specific conditions, headwraps also functioned as significant additions to southern African American religious ceremonies during the last century. A New Orleans journalist reported on a "voodoo rite" that he witnessed in 1828. "Some sixty people were assembled, each wearing a white bandana carefully knotted around the head. " (Crete, 1981:172). At a given moment in the ceremony, one of the women "tore the white hand- kerchief from her forehead. This was a signal, for the whole assembly sprang forward and entered the dance" (173).

Headwraps were included as one of the several special head coverings worn for more ordinary Christian religious events. The interviewer paraphrased Edward Lycurgas (enslaved in Florida): "Lycurgas recalls . the river baptisms! These climaxed the meetings . All candidates were dressed in white gowns, stockings and towels would be about their heads bandana fashion" (Narratives, Vol. 17.1:209). John Dixon Long, a white observer, remarked on a prayer-meeting held by enslaved people in Maryland in 1857.

At a given signal of the leader, the men will take off their jackets, hang up their hats, and tie up their heads in handkerchiefs the women will tighten their turbans, and the company will then form a circle around the singer, and jump and bawl to their heart's content . (Long, Pictures of Slave7y in Church and State. 383, quoted to Epstein, 1963:387).

Women might wear headwraps for Sunday worship. Louis Hughes, born 1832, enslaved in Mississippi and Virginia, remembered "once when Boss went to Memphis and brought back a bolt of gingham for turbans for the female slaves. It was a red and yellow check, and the turbans made from it were only to be worn on Sundays" (1897) 1969:42). Fanny Kemble's description of the "grotesque" Sunday costume of the .poor" enslaved people on her husband's Georgia plantation included: "head handkerchiefs, that put one's very eyes out from a mile off. " (1863:93).4

In certain areas, customs related to head coverings for the religious camp meetings denoted the age of the women. For example, Gus Pearson, enslaved in South Carolina, remembered:

(De gals) took dey hair down out'n de string fer de (camp) meeting. In dern days all de darky wimmens wore dey hair in string 'cep' when dey 'tended church or a wedding. At de camp meetings de wimmens pulled off de head rags, 'cept de mammies. On dis occasion de mammies wore linen head rages fresh laundered (Narratives, Vol. 2.2:62).

The last function to be examined returns us to the symbolic-this time, to the

symbolic functions given the headwrap by African American women. In this case, some African American women played with the white "code" and, by flaunting the headwrap, converted it from something which might be construed as shameful into an -anti-style uniquely their own.

This particular function may be analyzed by examining a portrait painted by Adolph Rinck in 1844. Some scholars believe the subject was Marie Laveau, the famous voudon priestess of New Orleans. The portrait dates from the time when the New Orleans dress code legally required African American women (whether enslaved or "free") to wear some form of headwrap but the painting's sitter took advantage of this supposed badge of degradation and transformed it into an emblem of self-determination and empowerment. The portrait shows a woman who most certainly was quite aware of how to style her "tignon" away from her face and high up on her head.5

If other black women wore the headwrap with less self-conscious concern for daring fashion than did Laveau, and with more concern for its utilitarian functions, nevertheless, they continued to wear it in particularly innovative ways, and always to wear it tied up and away from the face. In this manner, African American women demonstrated their recognition that they alone possessed this particular style of head ornamentation and thereby, donning the headwrap meant they were acknowledging their membership in an unique American social group. Whites misunderstood the self-empowering and defiant intent and saw the headwrap only as the stereotypic "Aunt Jemima" image of the black woman as domestic servant. This represents a paradox in so far as the headwrap acquired significance for the enslaved women as a form of self and communal identity and as a badge of resistance against the servitude imposed by whites.


Cassandra Stancil was born in 1954, and grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia.6 The most visible feature of Cassandra's dress is her headwrap which, as she says, she wears "more days out of the week than not". Cassandra uses two terms for the headwrap: if she purchases a finished scarf to wrap her head, she calls it a "scarf" if she wraps it with an unfinished cloth, she calls this a "rag." She notes "Usually when people are talking to me about it, they call it a 'wrap.'" Cassandra calls the different ways she styles the headwrap "variations." The shape of the cloth is one determining factor for how she wears it that is, the style of wrap depends on whether the fabric is "oblong or square." Fabric size is the other factor.

It varies-you could just use a big bandana to get a look, you know, if you just want something like a headband around your head. Or, if you really want to wrap and have fun with it, at least a couple of yards. If it is a short oblong piece, say about a yard long, that is more limiting.

Three cultural influences converge in Cassandra's choice of head covering. First, Cassandra consciously adopted the headwrap to mark her place as a modern African American and in recognition of black women who wore it in the past here, the influence is African American. Second, as Cassandra explained her rationale for not wearing the headwrap in certain situations, the influence is "American" and, again, conscious. The third influence is Cassandra's subconscious heritage from Africa and concerns the particular way she styles her headwraps. In the following, Cassandra voices these conscious and subconscious values.

First, the African American cultural values. The headwrap represents the most overt and visible material manifestation of Cassandra's decision to identify herself as an African American. Confrontations with other black women have occurred concerning her headwrap, but Cassandra maintains her own personal sense of self as she wears the head- wrap no matter what negative connotations others may see in it.

I remember my mother wrapping her head every night and when I'd come to her in the morning she had it wrapped. And when she's out in the yard, her hair is wrapped. But once she leaves the confines of that yard, the wrap's off.

My mother is of a different generation and to her way of thinking to wear a headwrap is a kind of signal. She'll wear it in her house, not in public. It's not proper, more of a household thing. For her, it's not so formal, it would just be a rag tied around the head. Not respectable, not proper to go in the public eyes.

I've never cared about what people thought. And there are still fights today with my mother and I-about how I dress-not just about how I wrap my head-how I dress.

For some women today, it seems-let's begin with where I come from-hats on the bead are the thing if you want to consider yourself dressed. And I've seen some older women wearing fancy headwraps on occasions where they generally in the past might have worn a hat-to church, to social functions.

This is getting personal here-but one of the reasons-early on, and this is going way back in my history, say in the (early) 70s when I was wearing (head- wraps), like college and high school- and I remember friends commenting to me, 'You look like Aunt jemima'-and I guess that is what my mother might have had in mind, that was what she thought other people were seeing, and she took that as a critique that she really did not want aimed at her, so that she did not wear them in public. Again, I never cared, number one, about how other people perceived it and number two, I never thought it was necessary to distance myself from Aunt Jemima. I never considered her to be a negative person, it's just a stereotype that she represents is negative, so I don't have that problem.

It's more of a reclaiming of my southern heritage, it's not necessary going back to Africa. It's more valorizing the southern women that I know and still know who did this. It's like putting myself in the same boat with them which I don't have a problem with.

Cassandra wore a headwrap "on and off" from the early 1970s until 1989,

when she entered the University of Pennsylvania as a graduate student and decided to wear it anywhere and anytime and on any occasion. Earlier, she wore it depending on her place of work and mentioned that when she had a government job, a different sort of attire was expected. Here Cassandra acknowledges the second set of cultural standards which informed her decisions as to the appropriateness of wearing or not wearing the headwrap. These standards are "American", and perhaps ultimately derive from a different and Euro-centric system for coding dress.

It's according to the kind of interactions. (Entering Penn) was the time I felt most free. Not confined by my work situation or the people that I would be encountering in the work situation.

Where I've worked-I've been in rural parts of middle America-while on the one hand I could have chosen to play up the exoticism, I've never wanted to do that.

When asked why she always wears the headwrap tied up and on her head, and

not just tied under the chin, Cassandra clearly displayed a knowledge about the effect it produces in the way she styles it. just as clearly, however, Cassandra's answers demonstrate that she is completely unaware of the fact that her particular style in applying the headwrap is decidedly African, the third cultural marker.

It never occurred to me-but it wouldn't feel comfortable and I don't know- we don't wear-I'm thinking maybe-I mean, when you're a child you wear a hat tied under your chin to keep it on your head. Maybe that's a part of it. Ummm. But it looks dressy to me, when, you know, it's all on my head. To me, it's the same effect as if I had elaborate braids on my head, if I had the head wrap tied above my head and knotted above my head or had the ends worked into the actual wrap.

Numerous scholars recognize improvisation as a hallmark of Africa and African American performance style. In fact, improvisation is fundamental to the African and African American concept of successful communication in all its forms-from speech, to song, to instrumental music, to dance, to dress.

Cassandra Stancil: No, I never asked another woman how she tied it. I always figured I could do it. I could try and experiment and if not get that, get some- thing that I liked.

It's more an aesthetic thing, I've never looked it up. As I'm wrapping, I'm looking in the mirror to see what it looks like. And sometimes I'll go for something symmetrical, sometimes asymmetrical. Sometimes I'll let the ends be out, sometimes I'll tuck them up, sometimes I'll braid them so that they have some kind of a design and then I'll tuck them under, sometimes I'll want to hide how I've made them so I make sure everything's tucked under, and then sometimes I don't care, I want them out, and like, when I have a really short piece that will really just barely go around my head, I'll just go with the Aunt Jemima look and just let the knot be there-If it's up in front it's the Aunt Jemima look.

Thus, the seemingly limitless ways of attaching a piece of cloth to the head may be read as yet another expression of African aesthetic style, that of improvisation.

Another primary characteristic of African and African American performative style is call-and-response wherein no clear lines are drawn between the roles of "per- former" and "audience" as is often the expectation in Euro-centric performance (see e.g. Allen, 1991: 85ff and Davis, 1987: 16fo. From an Afro-centric perspective, a successful performance demands audience response. The expectation is for both performer and audience to play roles, and this includes such an event as the wearing of a particular item of clothing.

Cassandra Stancil: I do get positive responses-and I don't know if I could categorize them. Yah-and it's generally in cultural settings, I guess, or at Penn I get a lot of responses, or when I go to other events where other people are dressed accordingly. But you know, if I'm in an environment where there's a greater "division" in points of view, then I don't get the responses at all. Having worn them so often, other women asked me how to wear them.

As African American communities in the South broke asunder with Emancipation, Reconstruction, and the Great Migration, the headwrap became, however consciously or unconsciously, one material link by which those women who came after could acknowledge a bond with those who preceded them.

Cassandra Stancil: It's kinda like the way we have, in the 60s, reappropriated the term "black" which was once pejorative, and once we reclaimed it and wore it as our banner, it became okay for us to call ourselves "black." Similarly, I see the same thing happening with headwraps and it may happen with braids, we've sort of taken back those, those, like-to have a "napped head" is how we use to call having dread-locks now, and it was very negative. 8 To have braids, that was something that only a child wore, but now it's something that older black women wear, and it's something we realize that it's something we have done in the past with our hair, whether or not it was the southern past or the African past, and it's something that is conducive to the way our hair is. So that now we wear it with those things in mind, sort of reappropriated it and used it to signify something different. And I guess that's how I would categorize how I see most people wearing them now. We have reappropriated it from the stereotypic views of it-we've reappropriated it from those who would say 'it's primitive' and so forth-and we valorized it, I think.

Today, the headwrap as emblematic of this bond seems to encompass not only the enslaved American ancestors, but those who remained in Africa as well. When I asked Cassandra if there were occasions, such as African American festivals, where any black women might wear a headwrap, she responded:

Definitely. Definitely. I mean those are the parts, I mean those are the ways that we have to re-incorporate the African dress into our everyday or fun-type dress.

During the period of enslavement, whites enacted codes that legally required black women to cover their heads with cloth wrappings, but these codes do not explain three other functions for the headwrap devised by the African Americans themselves. One pur- pose was purely practical: the cloth covered their hair when there was lack of time to prepare it for public view, the material absorbed perspiration and kept the hair free of grime during agricultural tasks, and the headwrap offered some protection against lice. Two additional functions-fashion and symbol-often overlapped. Within the African communities, the headwrap denoted sex, marital status, and the sexuality of the wearer.

These instances show that although the headwrap marked the social status of the wearer within the larger American society, the headwrap marked the wearer's status within black communities as well. For example, enslaved African American women practiced customs wherein certain types of headwraps were worn for special social events and for religious worship services, baptisms, and funerals.

In these usages, African American women demonstrated their recognition that they alone possessed their particular style of head ornamentation and thereby, donning the headwrap, meant they were acknowledging their membership in a unique American social group. For the enslaved women, the headwrap acquired significance as a form of self and communal identity and as a badge of resistance against the servitude imposed by whites. This represents a paradox in so far as the whites misunderstood the self-empowering and defiant intent and saw the headwrap only in the context of the stereotypical "Aunt jemima" image of black women as domestic servant.

After emancipation, the headwrap became a private matter possessing closely held meanings which were evident but mostly subconscious. In the 1970s, the headwrap re-emerged as an item of clothing worn publicly by some black women. When the head- wrap reappears, a white audience senses the true contradiction in the original paradox it evokes the white's role in the system of slavery. While the headwrap still bears this metaphor for modem African Americans, it also represents a symbolic embrace of their enslaved American forebears and, it now serves yet another function as an emblem of their West African ancestry. Thus, over time, the headwrap displays a dynamic quality in gathering new meanings and shedding older nuances.

i .Bernard S. Cohn, 1991, uses the phrase "uniform of rebellion" in his argument for the meaning of the turban to modem Indian Sikhs (304).

2. Although they are less often seen in the United States at present, European peasant women engaged in household and agricultural tasks continue to wear such a hair covering. And, in Greece, it is still customary for widowed, rural women to cover their hair in public with a dark-colored scarf. For whatever purposes, when white women wear head scarves today, they always tie them in the Euro-centric style.

3. So prevalent were lice that they gave their name to a type of handwoven cloth because it resembled the ever-present pests. Clara Walker, enslaved in Arkansas, said: "Den I weaves nits and lice. Wat's dat-well you see it was kind corse cloth de used for clothes like overalls. It was sort of speckeldy all over-dat's why dey called it nits and lice" (Narratives,Vol. 11.7:22).

4. Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble (1809-1893) was a British actress who made her American acting debut in New York City. Although an ardent abolitionist, Kemble married Pierce Butler, slave-holder and co-owner of a large plantation off the Georgia coast. Butler, an absentee landowner, resided in Philadelphia, but in 1838-1839, he brought his wife for a visit to the Georgia plantation. In 1863, Kemble's impressions of this sojourn were published. Kemble is a complex character. She exhibits a strong compassion for the enslaved, particularly the women interwoven with these assets, however, Kemble's writings also show that she judged African Americans from a Euro- centric perception that they were in need of "civilizing."

5. Tignon is a local, New Orleans word for the headwrap, a variation on the French word, chignon (Campbell, ed., 1991:x). Chignon means a smooth knot or twist or arrangement of hair that is worn at the nape of the neck.

6. Because I wanted to understand what the headwrap means to a contemporary African American woman, I requested an interview on the subject with Cassandra Stancil who graciously consented. The following quotations are excerpts from our taped conversation on 27 March 1992, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

7. When I asked Ella Williams Clarke, age 70, who was reared in North Carolina about wearing a headwrap she said, "We always wore hats and gloves to church when I was growing up. When you were a teenager you wore a hat-not everywhere, but always to church." Conversation, 10 Sept. 1992.

8. In Ghana, Maya Angelou describes her similar reaction when a local woman gave her a Ghanaian hairstyle: "It was a fashion worn by the pickaninnies whose photographs I had seen and hated in old books. I was aghast" (1986:37).

Allen, Ray. 1991. Singing in the Spirit. Afirican-American Sacred Quartets in New York City. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.

A Mississippi Planter. June 1851. "Management of Negroes Upon Southern Estates." De Bow's Southern journal and Western Review, 621-625.

Angelou, M. 1986. All God's Children Got Traveling Shoes. N.Y: Random House/ Vintage Books.

Boone, S. A. 1986. Radiance From the Waters: Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Mende Art. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Boturne, E. H. [189311968. First Days Among the Contrabands. N.Y: Arno Press and The New York Times.

Campbell, E. D. C., Jr., ed. 1991. Before Freedom Came: African-American Life in the Antebellum South. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press and Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond (exh. cat.).

Cohn, B. S. 1991. "Cloth, Clothes, and Colonialism: India in the Nineteenth Century." In Annette B. W. and J. Schneider, eds. Cloth and the Human Experience, Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 304-353.

Crete, L. 1981. Daily Life in Louisiana 1815-1830. Translated by Patrick Gregory, Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press.

Davis, G. L. 1987. 1 Got the Word in Me and I Can Sing It, You Know: A Study of the Performed African-American Sermon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Emecheta, B. 1988. Tbejoys of Motherhood. London: Heinemann.

Epstein, D. J. Summer 1963. "Slave Music in the United States Before 1860. A Survey of Sources (Part 2)." Music Library Association Notes 20, 377-390.

Fumas, J. C. 1956. Goodbye to Uncle Tom. N.Y: William Sloane Associates.

Gayarre, C. 1885. Histo7y of Louisiana: The French Domination, Vol. III. New Orleans: Armand Hawkins.

Genovese, E. 1974. Roll, Jordan, Roll. NY. Pantheon.

Goode, G. 1990. "Preachers of the Word and Singers of the Gospel: The Ministry of Women Among Nineteenth Century African Americans." Dissertation: University of Pennsylvania.

Hughes, L. [1897] 1969. Thirty Years a Slave: From Bondage to Freedom. NY. Negro Universities Press Reprint.

Kemble, F A. 1863. A Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation, 1838-1839. N.Y: Harper & Brothers.

Olmstead, F. L. [1861] 1984. The Cotton Kingdom: A Travellers Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States. N.Y: Modem Library.

Parsons, E. C. 1923. Folk-lore of the Sea Islands, South Carolina. N.Y: Creative Age Press.

Rawick, G. P., General Editor. 1972, 1977, 1979. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography. Westport CT- Greenwood Press.

Wade, R. C. 1964. Slavery in the Cities: The South 1820-1860. N.Y: Oxford University Press.

Wares, L. J. 198 1. "Dress of the African-American Woman in Slavery and Freedom: 1500- 1935." Dissertation: Purdue University.

The Mali Empire

Established by King Sundiata Keita, known as the &ldquoLion King,&rdquo the Mali Empire brought wealth, culture, and Islamic faith to West Africa.

Anthropology, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, World History

Kirina, Mali

Modern day Kirina, this town used to be one of the main strongholds of the Mali Empire. The pivotal battle of Kirina was fought here in 1235 C.E.

Photograph by Werner Forman

From the 13th to 17th century, West Africa was home to the great Mali Empire. Established by King Sundiata Keita, the kingdom united several smaller, Malinké Kingdoms near the Upper Niger River. Protected by a well-trained, imperial army and benefiting from being in the middle of trade routes, Mali expanded its territory, influence, and culture over the course of four centuries. An abundance of gold dust and salt deposits helped to expand the empire&rsquos commercial assets. Mali included the city of Timbuktu, which became known as an important center of knowledge. Mali also developed into a hub for the Islamic faith before poor leadership led to the empire&rsquos ultimate decline in power and influence.

The rise of the Mali Empire can be traced back to Sundiata, or the &ldquoLion King,&rdquo as some called him. After seizing the former capital of the Ghana Empire in 1240, Sundiata and his men consolidated control while continuing to expand the Mali Empire. Often times, the officers of his court wielded great power, which was crucial to keeping the empire strong during periods of poor leadership.

Mali had kings, called Mansa. The Mali Empire would reach a height of strength during the reign of Mansa Musa I. Territorial expansion coincided with cultural advancements, particularly in architecture, and the empire flourished. Using his large army, Musa doubled the empire&rsquos territory. This allowed the kingdom to enjoy the benefits of being at the center of trade in Africa. In 1324, Musa undertook a pilgrimage to Mecca during which he spent and gave away all of his gold. As a result, stories of the wealth of the Mali king spread far and wide.

Spanish cartographer Abraham Cresques even featured Musa in the Catalan Atlas, a popular resource for European explorers. Cresques included an image of Musa wearing a gold crown, holding more gold in his hand. This image would be the catalyst for explorers to search for the city of Timbuktu in hopes of finding Musa&rsquos riches. Today, some believe he could have been the richest man in history. Islamic learning centers, schools, and universities, and the grandest library in all of Africa were a direct result of Mansa Musa&rsquos rule and made Mali into a multilingual and multiethnic kingdom.

Following Mansa Musa&rsquos death around 1337, the empire fell victim to declining influence around Africa. Other trade centers developed, hurting the commercial wealth that had once so freely surrounded Mali. Poor leadership set the kingdom on a path of civil wars. The surrounding Songhay Empire would conquer most of the Mali kingdom by the late 15th century, leaving little remaining of the once proud Mali Empire. By the 17th century, the Moroccan Empire occupied the area.

Textiles in Mali

Two weavers in a market stall. Dogon artist, village of Ende, Mali. Photo by Rachel Hoffman.

In Mali in western Africa, textile production—the weaving and dyeing of cotton and wool—is integrally linked to history, tradition, social structure, and ecology. Woven cotton cloth dating to the 16th century has been found in caves at the Bandiagara escarpment, but historians do not know whether these indigo-dyed swatches were imported or produced locally. We do know that modern Mali is home to numerous societies whose weaving and dyeing traditions constitute an enduring foundation for individual livelihood and social continuity.

Administrative Offices:
University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art
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Iowa City, IA 52242

View Museum Locations
Telephone (319) 335-1727
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The Chilling History of How Hollywood Helped Hitler (Exclusive)

In devastating detail, an excerpt from a controversial new book reveals how the big studios, desperate to protect German business, let Nazis censor scripts, remove credits from Jews, get movies stopped and even force one MGM executive to divorce his Jewish wife.

Ben Urwand

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This story first appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The 1930s are celebrated as one of Hollywood’s golden ages, but in an exclusive excerpt from his controversial new book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (Harvard University Press, on sale Sept. 9), Harvard post-doctoral fellow Ben Urwand uncovers a darker side to Hollywood’s past.

Drawing on a wealth of archival documents in the U.S. and Germany, he reveals the shocking extent to which Hollywood cooperated and collaborated with the Nazis during the decade leading up to World War II to protect its business.

Indeed, “collaboration” (and its German translation, Zusammenarbeit) is a word that appears regularly in the correspondence between studio officials and the Nazis. Although the word is fraught with meaning to modern ears, its everyday use at the time underscored the eagerness of both sides to smooth away their differences to preserve commerce.

The Nazis threatened to exclude American movies — more than 250 played in Germany after Hitler took power in 1933 — unless the studios cooperated. Before World War I, the German market had been the world’s second largest, and even though it had shrunk during the Great Depression, the studios believed it would bounce back and worried that if they left, they would never be able to return.

Beginning with wholesale changes made to Universal’s 1930 release All Quiet on the Western Front, Hollywood regularly ran scripts and finished movies by German officials for approval. When they objected to scenes or dialogue they thought made Germany look bad, criticized the Nazis or dwelled on the mistreatment of Jews, the studios would accommodate them — and make cuts in the American versions as well as those shown elsewhere in the world.

It was not only scenes: Nazi pressure managed to kill whole projects critical of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Indeed, Hollywood would not make an important anti-Nazi film until 1940. Hitler was obsessed with the propaganda power of film, and the Nazis actively promoted American movies like 1937’s Captains Courageous that they thought showcased Aryan values.

Historians have long known about American companies such as IBM and General Motors that did business in Germany into the late 1930s, but the cultural power of movies — their ability to shape what people think — makes Hollywood’s cooperation with the Nazis a particularly important and chilling moment in history . — Andy Lewis

‘Victory Is Ours’

On Friday, Dec. 5, 1930, a crowd of Nazis in Berlin seized on an unusual target: the Hollywood movie All Quiet on the Western Front. Recognized in most countries as a document of the horrors of the First World War, in Germany it was seen as a painful and offensive reenactment of the German defeat.

The Nazis, who had recently increased their representation in the Reichstag from 12 to 107 seats, took advantage of the national indignation toward All Quiet on the Western Front. They purchased about 300 tickets for the first public screening, and as they watched the German troops retreat from the French, they shouted: “German soldiers had courage. It’s a disgrace that such an insulting film was made in America!” Because of the disruptions, the projectionist was forced to switch off the film. Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels gave a speech from the front row of the balcony in which he claimed that the film was an attempt to destroy Germany’s image. His comrades threw stink bombs and released mice into the crowd. Everyone rushed for the exits, and the theater was placed under guard.

The Nazis’ actions met with significant popular approval. The situation came to a climax Dec. 11, when the highest censorship board in Germany convened to determine the fate of the film. After a long discussion, the chairman of the board issued a ban: Whereas the French soldiers went to their deaths quietly and bravely, the German soldiers howled and shrieked with fear. The film was not an honest representation of German defeat — of course the public had reacted disapprovingly. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, the picture offended a whole generation of Germans who had suffered through the War.

And so, six days after the protests in Berlin, All Quiet on the Western Front was removed from screens in Germany. “Victory is ours!” Goebbels’ newspaper proclaimed. “We have forced them to their knees!”

In Hollywood, the president of Universal Pictures, Carl Laemmle, was troubled by the controversy surrounding his picture. He was born in Germany, and he wanted All Quiet on the Western Front to be shown there. According to one representative, his company had “lost a fine potential business, for the film would have been a tremendous financial success in Germany if it could have run undisturbed.”

In August 1931, Laemmle came up with a heavily edited version of the movie that he was convinced would not offend the German Foreign Office. He made a trip to Europe to promote the new version. The Foreign Office soon agreed to support All Quiet on the Western Front for general screening in Germany, under one condition: Laemmle would have to tell Universal’s branches in the rest of the world to make the same cuts to all copies of the film. Late in the summer, Laemmle agreed to cooperate with the request.

As months passed, however, Laemmle, who was Jewish, grew worried about something much more important than the fate of his film. “I am almost certain,” he wrote in early 1932, “that [Adolf] Hitler’s rise to power &hellip would be the signal for a general physical onslaught on many thousands of defenseless Jewish men, women and children.” He convinced American officials that he could provide for individual Jews, and by the time of his death in 1939, he had helped get at least 300 people out of Germany.

And yet at precisely the moment he was embarking on this crusade, his employees at Universal were following the orders of the German government. In the first few months of 1932, the Foreign Office discovered unedited versions of All Quiet on the Western Front playing in El Salvador and Spain. The company apologized. Afterward, there were no more complaints Universal had made the requested cuts all around the world.

The following year, Laemmle made another concession to the Foreign Office: He postponed The Road Back, the sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front. His son, Carl Laemmle Jr., also agreed to change many pictures in Germany’s favor. “Naturally,” the Foreign Office noted, “Universal’s interest in collaboration [Zusammenarbeit] is not platonic but is motivated by the company’s concern for the well-being of its Berlin branch and for the German market.”

Throughout the 1930s, the term “collaboration” was used repeatedly to describe dealings that took place in Hollywood. Even studio heads adopted the term. An executive at RKO promised that whenever he made a film involving Germany, he would work “in close collaboration” with the local consul general. A Fox executive said the same. Even United Artists offered “the closest collaboration” if the German government did not punish the studio for the controversial 1930 air combat movie Hell’s Angels. According to the Foreign Office, “Every time that this collaboration was achieved, the parties involved found it to be both helpful and pleasant.”

All this was a result of the Nazis’ actions against All Quiet on the Western Front. Soon every studio started making deep concessions to the German government, and when Hitler came to power in January 1933, they dealt with his representatives directly.

The most important German representative in the whole arrangement was a diplomat named Georg Gyssling, who had been a Nazi since 1931. He became the German consul in Los Angeles in 1933, and he consciously set out to police the American film industry. His main strategy was to threaten the American studios with a section of the German film regulations known as “Article 15.” According to this law, if a company distributed an anti-German picture anywhere in the world, then all its movies could be banned in Germany. Article 15 proved to be a very effective way of regulating the American film industry as the Foreign Office, with its vast network of consulates and embassies, could easily detect whether an offensive picture was in circulation anywhere around the world.

The Mad Dog of Europe

In May 1933, a Hollywood screenwriter named Herman J. Mankiewicz&sbquo the man who would later write Citizen Kane, had a promising idea. He was aware of the treatment of the Jews in Germany and he thought, “Why not put it on the screen?” Very quickly, he penned a play entitled The Mad Dog of Europe, which he sent to his friend Sam Jaffe, a producer at RKO. Jaffe was so taken with the idea that he bought the rights and quit his job. Jaffe, who, like Mankiewicz, was Jewish, planned to assemble a great Hollywood cast and devote all his energies to a picture that would shake the entire world.

Of course, various forces had been put in place to prevent a picture like this from ever being made. First and foremost was Gyssling. Up to this point, he had only invoked Article 15 against pictures that disparaged the German army during the World War. The Mad Dog of Europe was infinitely more threatening: It attacked the present German regime.

Gyssling was unable to use Article 15 against The Mad Dog of Europe for the simple reason that the independent company producing the picture did not do business in Germany. He was left with only one option: Inform the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America (popularly known as the Hays Office), which regulated movie sex and violence for Hollywood, that if the movie were made then the Nazis might ban all American movies in Germany.

The Hays Office reacted quickly. Will Hays, the organization’s president, met with Jaffe and Mankiewicz. He accused them of selecting a “scarehead” situation for the picture, which, if made, might return them a tremendous profit while creating heavy losses for the industry. Jaffe and Mankiewicz said they would proceed despite any ban that Hays might attempt.

Hays needed to adopt a different approach. He asked his representative, Joseph Breen, to reach out to the advisory council for the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles. The advisory council read the script and felt that the direct references to Hitler and Nazi Germany might provoke an anti-Semitic reaction in the United States. But “if modified so as to apparently have reference to a fictitious country, and if the propaganda elements &hellip were made more subtle &hellip the film would be a most effective means of arousing the general public to the major implications of Hitlerism.”

Even if the script were toned down, the Anti-Defamation League suspected that the Hays Office would object to the film because the major Hollywood studios were still doing business in Germany. Nobody in the ADL group knew exactly how much business was being done. Some imagined that Germany was banning films starring Jewish actors others thought that Germany was banning entire “companies supposed to be controlled by Jews.” Nobody had the slightest idea that the Nazis were actually facilitating the distribution of American movies in Germany.

The Anti-Defamation League decided to carry out a test: It asked a well-known screenwriter to prepare an outline of The Mad Dog of Europe that contained none of the obvious objections. This scriptwriter then submitted the outline to three different agents, and without any hesitation, they all told him the same thing: “It was no use submitting any story along this line as the major studios had put ‘thumbs down’ on any films of this kind.”

Eventually, Jaffe gave up his plans and sold the rights to The Mad Dog of Europe to well-known agent Al Rosen. And when the Hays Office urged Rosen to abandon the picture, Rosen accused the Hays Office of malicious interference and issued a remarkable statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency claiming “on good authority” that Nazi officials were trying to stop the picture. He scoffed at the idea that the picture would provoke further anti-Semitism.

Over the next seven months — from November 1933 to June 1934 — Rosen continued to work on the film, but he failed to convince Hollywood executives to pour money into the project. Louis B. Mayer told him that no picture would be made: “We have interests in Germany I represent the picture industry here in Hollywood we have exchanges there we have terrific income in Germany and, as far as I am concerned, this picture will never be made.”

And so The Mad Dog of Europe was never turned into a motion picture. The episode turned out to be the most important moment in all of Hollywood’s dealings with Nazi Germany. It occurred in the first year of Hitler’s rise to power, and it defined the limits of American movies for the remainder of the decade.


In 1936, the studios started to encounter major censorship difficulties in Germany. Nazi censors rejected dozens of American films, sometimes giving vague reasons, sometimes giving no reasons at all. The smaller companies had all left Germany by this point, and only the three largest companies — MGM, Paramount and 20th Century Fox — remained. By the middle of the year, these three companies had managed to have a combined total of only eight pictures accepted by the censors, when they really needed 10 or 12 each just to break even.

The studios were faced with a difficult decision: continue doing business in Germany under unfavorable conditions or leave Germany and turn the Nazis into the greatest screen villains of all time. On July 22, MGM announced that it would bow out of Germany if the other two remaining companies, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, would do the same.

Paramount and Fox said no. Even though they were not making any money in Germany (Paramount announced a net loss of $580 for 1936), they still considered the German market to be a valuable investment. They had been there for years. Despite the difficult business conditions, their movies were still extremely popular. If they remained in Germany a while longer, their investment might once again yield excellent profits. If they left they might never be permitted to return.

Over the next few years, the studios actively cultivated personal contacts with prominent Nazis. In 1937, Paramount chose a new manager for its German branch: Paul Thiefes, a member of the Nazi Party. The head of MGM in Germany, Frits Strengholt, divorced his Jewish wife at the request of the Propaganda Ministry. She ended up in a concentration camp.

The studios also adopted new tactics. When Give Us This Night and The General Died at Dawn were banned, Paramount wrote to the Propaganda Ministry and speculated on what was objectionable in each case. Give Us This Night was scored by a Jewish composer, so the studio offered to dub in music by a German composer instead. The General Died at Dawn had been directed by Lewis Milestone, who had also directed All Quiet on the Western Front, so the studio offered to slash his name from the credits.

In January 1938, the Berlin branch of 20th Century Fox sent a letter directly to Hitler’s office: “We would be very grateful if you could provide us with a note from the Führer in which he expresses his opinion of the value and effect of American films in Germany. We ask you for your kind support in this matter, and we would be grateful if you could just send us a brief notification of whether our request will be granted by the Führer. Heil Hitler!” Four days later, 20th Century Fox received a reply: “The Führer has heretofore refused in principle to provide these kinds of judgments.”

The Final Cut

In April 1936, Laemmle lost control of Universal Pictures to the American financier and sportsman John Cheever Cowdin, who revived All Quiet on the Western Front sequel The Road Back. “When this story originally came in four or five years ago,” a Universal employee explained to the Hays Office, “we were loath to produce &hellip solely due to the jeopardy in which its production would have placed our German business. &hellip [S]ince then the situation with regard to the American Film Industry has completely changed and we are now ready and anxious to produce this story.”

Despite this proclamation, Universal had not lost interest in Germany. In February 1937, Cowdin traveled to Berlin, and according to U.S. ambassador William E. Dodd, he made an “unusual offer” to the Nazis. “The company in question was previously controlled by Jewish interests but after recent reorganization, it is understood that it is now non-Jewish,” wrote Dodd, “[and after] discussions with government officials &hellip a plan was considered whereby, probably in collaboration with German interests, his company might re-enter the German market.”

On April 1, 1937, Gyssling made his boldest move yet. He sent letters to about 60 people involved in The Road Back — the director, the cast, even the wardrobe man — and he warned them that any films in which they participated in the future might be banned in Germany. The move created an uproar. Gyssling had directly threatened American film workers for their activities on home soil. He had used the U.S. Postal Service to frighten and intimidate individuals. Universal told everyone to keep the matter a secret, but the news leaked out. Several actors sought out legal advice complaints were lodged with the State Department. One member of the Hays Office hoped that Gyssling would finally be expelled “on account of his viciousness.”

The matter was considered at the highest level. A representative of the secretary of state met with the counselor of the German embassy and pointed out that such actions did not fall within the proper functions of a consular officer. He did not want to lodge an official complaint he simply asked the counselor to bring the matter up with the German government.

In the meantime, Universal Pictures made 21 cuts to The Road Back. By this stage, there was hardly anything in the film to which the ambassador could object. So many scenes had been cut out that the plot barely made any sense. The ending, which had criticized the rise of militarism in Germany, now criticized the rise of militarism all around the world. But the Nazis would not allow the company back into Germany.

For Gyssling, the news was less bleak. The German Foreign Office sent a brief, unapologetic letter to the State Department to explain that the consul in Los Angeles had been instructed not to issue future warnings to American citizens. As a result, the State Department considered the matter closed.

In all of these dealings with the Hollywood studios, Gyssling was doing something very strategic. He was objecting to a series of films about the World War when his real target lay elsewhere. Ever since he had heard about The Mad Dog of Europe, he had understood that Hollywood was capable of producing a much more damaging type of film from his perspective: a film that attacked Nazi Germany. His reaction to The Road Back was carefully calculated. He was focusing his energies on the films set in the past in an attempt to prevent the studios from moving into the present.

In April 1937, the final volume of Erich Maria Remarque‘s trilogy, Three Comrades, which was prime Hollywood material, was published in the United States. Whereas All Quiet on the Western Front had been about the World War and The Road Back had been about its aftermath, Three Comrades was set in the late 1920s, when the Nazis were emerging as a significant political force. The MGM producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz (brother of Herman) hired none other than F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote a script that mounted a powerful attack on the rise of Nazism in Germany.

When the Hays Office’s Breen read the new script, he panicked. He had just received a fourth warning from Gyssling about Three Comrades, and he knew exactly what the German consul was capable of. He wrote to Mayer in the strongest possible terms: “This screen adaptation suggests to us enormous difficulty from the standpoint of your company’s distribution business in Germany. &hellip [and] may result in considerable difficulty in Europe for other American producing organizations.”

Despite Breen’s concerns, the shooting of Three Comrades went ahead. Screenwriter Budd Schulberg recalled MGM screened the movie for Gyssling: “There was some films that Louis B. Mayer of MGM would actually run &hellip with the Nazi German consul and was willing to take out the things that the consul, that the Nazi, objected to.” Although Breen did not keep a record of the meeting between Mayer and Gyssling, he was soon in possession of something else: a list of changes that needed to be made to the film. It is very unlikely that Breen came up with the list himself, for he had his own separate set of suggestions (relating to sex, foul language, etc.). In all likelihood this secret document, which contained 10 unusual changes, was the list that Mayer compiled with Gyssling at the end of their screening of Three Comrades .

Breen went through the list in a meeting with several MGM executives. The film needed to be set somewhat earlier, in the two-year period immediately following the end of the World War. “Thus, we will get away from any possible suggestion that we are dealing with Nazi violence or terrorism.” He read out the scenes that needed to be cut, and he pointed out that these cuts could be made without interfering with the romantic plot at the center of the picture. The MGM executives agreed. After all the changes had been made, Three Comrades neither attacked the Nazis nor mentioned the Jews. The picture had been completely sanitized.

From Gyssling’s perspective, the removal of all the offensive elements of Three Comrades was the true benefit of his behavior from the previous year. He had reacted so dramatically to the second film in the trilogy that he had now managed to get his way on the third. And this was no small feat, for Three Comrades would have been the first explicitly anti-Nazi film by an American studio. At this critical historical moment, when a major Hollywood production could have alerted the world to what was going on in Germany, the director did not have the final cut the Nazis did.

‘Throw Us Out’

The collaboration between Hollywood and the Nazis lasted well into 1940. Though Warner Bros. released Confessions of a Nazi Spy in 1939, this B-picture had no effect on the studios still operating in Germany. MGM, Paramount and 20th Century Fox kept doing business with the Nazis, and MGM even donated 11 of its films to help with the German war relief effort after the Nazis invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.

As the war continued, the studios found it virtually impossible to distribute their pictures in England and France, two of their largest sources of foreign revenue. In this context, they were less concerned with the relatively minor German market. MGM soon embarked on its first anti-Nazi picture The Mortal Storm, and 20th Century Fox began work on Four Sons. The Nazis responded by invoking Article 15 and by September 1940, both had been expelled from German-occupied territory.

In the year that followed, the studios released only a handful of anti-Nazi movies because of another, very different political force: the American isolationists. The isolationists accused Hollywood of making propaganda designed to draw the United States into the European war, and in the fall of 1941, Congress investigated this charge in a series of hearings. The most dramatic moment came when the head of 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck, gave a rousing defense of Hollywood: “I look back and recall pictures so strong and powerful that they sold the American way of life, not only to America but to the entire world. They sold it so strongly that when dictators took over Italy and Germany, what did Hitler and his flunky, Mussolini, do? The first thing they did was to ban our pictures, throw us out. They wanted no part of the American way of life.”

In the thunderous applause that followed, no one pointed out that Zanuck’s own studio had been doing business with the Nazis just the previous year.

Excerpted from The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler by Ben Urwand (Harvard University Press, on sale Sept. 9). Copyright Ben Urwand.

Pilgrimage to Mecca

Mansa Mūsā, either the grandson or the grandnephew of Sundiata, the founder of his dynasty, came to the throne in 1307. In the 17th year of his reign (1324), he set out on his famous pilgrimage to Mecca. It was this pilgrimage that awakened the world to the stupendous wealth of Mali. Cairo and Mecca received this royal personage, whose glittering procession, in the superlatives employed by Arab chroniclers, almost put Africa’s sun to shame. Traveling from his capital of Niani on the upper Niger River to Walata (Oualâta, Mauritania) and on to Tuat (now in Algeria) before making his way to Cairo, Mansa Mūsā was accompanied by an impressive caravan consisting of 60,000 men including a personal retinue of 12,000 enslaved persons, all clad in brocade and Persian silk. The emperor himself rode on horseback and was directly preceded by 500 enslaved persons, each carrying a gold-adorned staff. In addition, Mansa Mūsā had a baggage train of 80 camels, each carrying 300 pounds of gold.

Mansa Mūsā’s prodigious generosity and piety, as well as the fine clothes and exemplary behaviour of his followers, did not fail to create a most-favourable impression. The Cairo that Mansa Mūsā visited was ruled by one of the greatest of the Mamlūk sultans, Al-Malik al- Nāṣir. The Black emperor’s great civility notwithstanding, the meeting between the two rulers might have ended in a serious diplomatic incident, for so absorbed was Mansa Mūsā in his religious observances that he was only with difficulty persuaded to pay a formal visit to the sultan. The historian al-ʿUmarī, who visited Cairo 12 years after the emperor’s visit, found the inhabitants of this city, with a population estimated at one million, still singing the praises of Mansa Mūsā. So lavish was the emperor in his spending that he flooded the Cairo market with gold, thereby causing such a decline in its value that the market some 12 years later had still not fully recovered.

Rulers of West African states had made pilgrimages to Mecca before Mansa Mūsā, but the effect of his flamboyant journey was to advertise both Mali and Mansa Mūsā well beyond the African continent and to stimulate a desire among the Muslim kingdoms of North Africa, and among many of European nations as well, to reach the source of this incredible wealth.

African Creation Stories

These stories are adapted with permission from Ulli Beier (editor), The Origin of Life and Death: African Creation Myths. London: Heinemann, 1966.

HOW THE WORLD WAS CREATED FROM A DROP OF MILK At the beginning there was a huge drop of milk
Then Doondari (God) came and he created the stone.
Then the stone created iron
And iron created fire
And fire created water
And water created air.
The Doondari descended a second time. And he took the five elements
And he shaped them into man.
But man was proud.
Then Doondari created blindness and blindness defeated man.
But when blindness became too proud,
Doondari created sleep, and sleep defeated blindness
But when sleep became too proud,
Doondari created worry, and worry defeated sleep
But when worry became too proud,
Doondari created death, and death defeated worry.
But when death became too proud,
Doondari descended for the third time,
And he came as Gueno, the eternal one
And Gueno defeated death.

God created the tortoise (turtle), men and stones. Of each he created male and female. God gave life to the tortoises and men, but not to the stones. Noen could have children, and when they became old they did not die but became young again!

The tortoise, however, wished to have children, and went to God. But God said: “I have given you life, but I have not given you permission to have children.”

But the tortoise came to God again to make the request, and finally God said:

“You always come to ask for children. Do you realize that when the living have had several children they must die?”

But the tortoise said: “Let me see my children and then die.” Then God granted the wish.

When man saw that the tortoise had children, he too wanted children. God warned man, as he had the tortoise, that he must die. But man also said: “Let me see my children and then die.”

That is how death and children came into the world.

Only the stones didn’t want to have children, so they never die!
A Nupe story (Nigeria)

God created the first human being with the help of the moon. God kneaded the body out of clay. Then God covered it with skin and the end God poured blood into it. God called the first human Baatsi.

Then God whispered into his ear telling him to beget many children, but to impress upon the children the following rule: from all trees you may eat, but not from the Tahu tree.

Baatsi had many children and he made them obey the rule. When he became old he retired to heaven. His children obeyed the rule and when they grew old they too retired to heaven.

But one day a pregnant woman was seized with an irresistible desire to eat the fruit of the Tahu tree. She asked her husband to break some for her, but he refused. But when she persisted, the husband gave in. He crept into the forest at night, picked the Tahu fruit, peeled it, and hid the peel in the bush. But moon had seen him, and she told God what she had seen.

God was so angry with humans that he sent death as a punishment to men.

Shida Matunda created all things. After making the earth and water and plants and animals, he created two women and took them as his wives.

His favorite wife, however, died. Then Shida Matunda buried her in her house and remained at her grave watering it every day. After some time, a little plant began to grow from the grave. Then he was glad, because he knew that the dead woman would rise again. He did not allow his other wife to come near the grave.

But one day when Shida Matunda had gone out, the wife was overcome with curiosity and she stole into the house. When she saw the plant, she was jealous and cut it down with a hoe. The blood of the dead woman poured out of the grave and filled the house.

When Shida Matunda returned and saw the blood, he was much afraid and said: “You have killed your co-wife and thereby caused all men, animals, and plants to die.”

From Shida Matunda and the surviving woman descended all other humans.

A Nyamwezi story (Tanzania).

How Truth and Falsehood Got So Confused

Olofi created the Earth and all things in it. He created beautiful things and ugly things. He created Truth and he created Falsehood. He made Truth big and powerful, but he made Falsehood skinny and weak. And God made them enemies. He gave Falsehood a cutlass [large knife], unbeknownst to Truth. One day, the two met and started fighting. Truth, being so big and powerful felt confident, and also very complacent since he didn’t know that Falsehood had a cutlass. So Falsehood cunningly cut off Truth’s head. This jolted and enraged Truth, and he started scrambling around on the ground for his head. In his scrambling, Truth stumbled unto Falsehood, and knocking him down Truth, felt the head of Falsehood, which he took to be his own head. His strength being truly awesome, a mere pull from Truth yanked off the head of Falsehood. Truth then put the head on his own neck. And from that day what we have had is a horrible mismatch: the body of Truth and the head of Falsehood.

Iliotibial Band Avulsion Fracture

The iliotibial band along with the lateral capsular ligament are the primary stabilizing structures of the anterolateral knee. The iliotibial band represents the distal extension of the superficial and deep layers of the fascia lata as well as the tendon on the tensor fascia lata. The superficial layer of the band consists of its primary tendinous component and inserts onto the Gerdy tubercle along the anterolateral tibia, while its deep layer inserts on the intermuscular septum of the distal femur ( , 17, , 25).

Isolated tears of the iliotibial band are infrequent. The proposed mechanism of injury involves a pure varus force, which is rarely seen because varus positioning is usually associated with the knee being in flexion and internal rotation ( , 26). Thus, injury to additional structures beyond the iliotibial band is a common finding. At MR imaging, avulsion and retraction of the iliotibial band from its distal insertion on the Gerdy tubercle are visualized ( , Fig 9). Associated injury to the ACL is a common finding in this entity ( , 17).

Figure 9. Iliotibial band avulsion fracture. Coronal fast spin-echo proton-density–weighted MR image of the left knee shows avulsion of the iliotibial band (black arrow) from its attachment site on the Gerdy tubercle of the anterior tibia (white arrow).

Seated Figure (Djenné peoples)

Seated Figure, terracotta, 13th century, Mali, Inland Niger Delta region, Djenné peoples, 25/4 x 29.9 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 82nd & Fifth: “Bundle of Emotions” by Yaëlle Biro.

Among the earliest known examples of art from sub-Saharan Africa are terracotta figures like this one from the inland delta of the Niger River, near the present-day home of the Dogon and Bamana peoples.

In this region of Mali, the ancient city of Jenne-jeno (“Old Jenne”) flourished as a center for agriculture, trade, and art from the middle of the first millennium until about 1600. The terracotta figures associated with this civilization represent men and women, singular and in pairs, in a variety of attire and poses, including sitting, kneeling, and on horseback. The diversity of imagery and the skill with which they were modeled reveal the rich sculptural heritage of a sophisticated urban culture.

Seated Figure, Mali, Inland Niger Delta region, Djenné peoples, 13th century, terracotta, 25/4 x 29.9 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

This figure sits, hunched over, with both arms clasping an upraised leg, its head tilted sideways to rest against its bent knee. The posture evokes a pensive attitude that is reinforced by the expressiveness of the facial features: the bulging eyes, large ears, and protruding mouth are all stylistically characteristic of works from this region.

Face (detail), Seated Figure, terracotta, 13th century, Mali, Inland Niger Delta region, Djenné peoples, 25/4 x 29.9 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The fluid contours of the body emphasize the long sweeping curve of the neck and back and the rhythmic play of intertwined limbs. Except for the barest suggestion of shoulder blades, fingers, and toes, the figure lacks anatomical details. On the back are three rows of raised marks and two rows of marks punched into the clay. These have been variously interpreted as scarification marks or symptoms of a disease.

Back view, Seated Figure, terracotta, 13th century, Mali, Inland Niger Delta region, Djenné peoples, 25/4 x 29.9 cm (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The surviving figures vary in style and subject matter, suggesting that the sculptors had considerable artistic freedom. Our understanding of the use and meaning of such works remains speculative. A few controlled archaeological digs have revealed similar figures that were originally set into the walls of houses. Oral history collected recently in the region supports the archaeological evidence, as the figures are said to have been venerated in special sanctuaries and private homes. There is little consensus, however, on the meaning of the various forms of the terracotta figures. Scholars have suggested that this figure conveys an attitude of mourning. Its seated pose, shaved head, and lack of dress recall mourning customs still practiced by some in this region of western Africa.

Watch the video: Oumou Sangaré - Kamelaba - AFH996 (January 2022).