"My First Conk"

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by HOHNancy, Jun 16, 2005.

  1. HOHNancy

    HOHNancy
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    I remember reading THIS STORY in a college textbook my older brother had....and it was interesting to read about how the blacks did their hair this way years ago (before I was born). <smile>

    Nancy

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    Source: Malcolm X describes getting a conk hairdo as a child,

    (from "The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1964")

    "Shorty soon decided that my hair was finally long enough to be conked.... I took the little list of ingredients he had printed out for me, and went to a grocery store, where I got a can of Red Devil lye, two eggs, and two medium sized white potatoes. Then at the drugstore near the poolroom, I asked for a large jar of vaseline, a large bar of soap, a large-toothed comb and a fine toothed comb, one of those rubber hoses with a metal spray head, a rubber apron and a pair of gloves. "Going to lay that first conk?", the drugstore man asked me. I proudly told him grinning, "Right!"

    A jelly-like starchy-looking glop resulted from the lye and potatoes, and Shorty broke in the two eggs, stirring real fast.... [Shorty said,] "You know itís going to burn when I comb it in. It burns bad. But the longer you can stand it, the straighter the hair."

    The congolene just felt warm when Shorty started combing it in. But then my head caught fire. I gritted my teeth and tried to pull the sides of the kitchen table together. The comb felt as if it was raking my skin off. My eyes watered, my nose was running. I couldn't stand it any longer. I bolted to the washbasin. I was cursing Shorty with every name I could think of.... He lathered and spray-rinsed, lathered and spray-rinsed maybe ten or twelve times....

    [Shorty said], "The first timeís always worst. You get used to it better before long. You look real good, homeboy. You got a good conk."

    When Shorty let me stand up and see in the mirror, my hair hung down in limp, damp strings. My scalp still flamed, but not as badly.... My first view in the mirror blotted out the hurting.... When it's the first time, on your own head, the transformation, after a lifetime of kinks, is staggering.... On top of my head was this thick, smooth sheen of shining red hair real red as straight as any white man's.
     
  2. exscentric

    exscentric
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    "On top of my head was this thick, smooth sheen of shining red hair real red as straight as any white man's."

    If he dispised white man so much how come he wanted to look like him? :rolleyes:
     
  3. NateT

    NateT
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    Not that I'm a fan of Malcolm X, but it was at two different points of his life. He used to conk his hair etc, then when he got sent to prison and started having visits from a black muslim. At that point he started despising the white man.

    In part it was becasue he started seeing how white people were trying to influence him and other blacks to look white (that is the sentiment I got from reading his autobiography).
     
  4. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Ya, ya bring up context, seems that is the way some people think :D

    Makes sense to me :)
     
  5. NateT

    NateT
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    I'm sorry... I ruin all the fun of debate if I take things in context :D
     
  6. exscentric

    exscentric
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    Keep up the good ruining [​IMG]
     

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