Trauma, Tresses, and Truth

Trauma, Tresses, and Truth
Trauma, Tresses, and Truth

Trauma, Tresses, and Truth

Untangling Our Hair Through Personal Narratives
By Lyzette Wanzer


256 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, PDF, EPUB

Trade Paper, $19.99 (CA $26.99) (US $19.99)

ISBN 9781641606707

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Nov 2022)
Lawrence Hill Books


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Black women continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From grammar and high schools to corporate boardrooms and military squadrons, Black and Afro Latina natural hair continues to confound, transfix, and enrage members of White American society. Why, in 2022, is this still the case? Why have we not moved beyond that perennial racist emblem? And why are women so disproportionately affected? Why does our hair become most palatable when it capitulates, and has been subjugated, to resemble Caucasian features as closely as possible? Who or what is responsible for the web of supervision and surveillance of our hair? Who in our society gets to author the prevailing constitution of professional appearance? Particularly relevant during this time of emboldened White supremacy, racism, and provocative othering, this work explores how writing about one of the still-remaining systemic biases in schools, academia, and corporate America might lead to greater understanding and respect.


"Trauma, Tresses, and Truth offers vivid vignettes of individual and collective episodic memory. There is an urgent need for collective healing that invites Black and Brown women to tell their stories from the crown down. Trauma, Tresses, and Truth seeks to unseat and decolonize our natural hair stories, redirecting entire eras of grief into rediscovery, rebirth, and reclamation of our ability to choose our hair stories." —Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, founder and CEO of PsychoHairapy   

"Trauma, Tresses, and Truth is abundant with important messages, historical truths, and acts of everyday heroism and defiance in the face of the worst kind of racism, the kind that refuses to recognize itself. Contributor Dr. Raina León asks, 'what is freedom? is there a peek of it in this history?' Through a weaving of deeply honest, emotional stories, these survivors of cultural trauma provide an intellectual and emotional laying on of hands so that the next generation can heal and find their freedom. This powerful collection is an important addition to minority studies and a necessary contribution to the process of Black women taking back their crowns." —Tara Lynn Masih, editor of the award-winning Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays  

Author Biography

Lyzette Wanzer is a writer, editor, and workshop instructor. Her work has appeared in more than twenty-five journals, magazines, and books. She has presented her work at conferences across the country. Wanzer is a contributor to The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays and Lyric Essay as Resistance: Truth from the Margins. She lives in San Francisco.