HISTORY: How African Slaves Braided Rice Seeds Into Their Hair & Changed the World

April 5, 2020 ~ By Shari Rose – https://blurredbylines.com

On slave ships to the Americas, West African slaves braided rice seeds in their hair & forever altered the New World economy with their knowledge of the rice crop

Bundle of harvested rice gathered by farmer.

Bundle of harvested rice gathered by a Maroon farmer in French Guiana. {Source: Tinde van Andel}


During the African slave trade, enslaved peoples found ways to retain their agency, and keep themselves and their cultures alive in ways that were not widely acknowledged by Western historians until the late 2000s.

As Dutch slave owners forcibly transported people from West Africa to colonies in modern-day Brazil and throughout the Americas, some African women, namely rice farmers, braided rice seeds into their hair as a means for survival of themselves and the culture of their homeland.

READ MORE: https://blurredbylines.com/blog/west-african-slaves-rice-hair-maroon-french-guiana-colonialism/

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  • Brother Man  On 04/25/2021 at 1:30 am

    Great read – This is a most fascinating tale of genius and survival. African women braiding rice seeds directly onto their scalps before getting onboard those transAtlantic horror ships to the Americas and then later unbraiding it for use in fields for their own survival is simply incredible.

    Shamelessly, it was their enslavers who odiously took credit for the success of rice cultivation in the so-called New World. The Maroon people of French Guiana and Suriname must have a treasure trove of incredible oral history to share with the world.

    What’s also fascinating is that they were not exposed to and corrupted by the white man’s religion while they successfully maintained their tribal transitions.

    Brother Man

  • michael hawkins  On 04/26/2021 at 4:14 am

    Rice is not grown in Africa in those days. It was Maze as rice comes from the Far East sorry

    • Morning star  On 04/26/2021 at 5:37 am

      What is white man religion??

      • Brother Man  On 04/26/2021 at 6:25 am

        Good question- The Jesuits came to the plantations and forced Christianity on the enslaved against their will. Christianity effectively replaced the African slaves’ tribal customs. When you open your eyes, you will see systemic lies everywhere.

        Brother Man

    • Brother Man  On 04/26/2021 at 6:13 am

      That is what is taught by the conqueror’s education system. Another lie is that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. In fact, it was Humphry Davy who did.

      Similarly, it was Lewis Latimer (a Black man) who invented the carbon filament which is still in use. Edison used a paper filament which quickly burned out. But he gets the credit. In short, you can’t believe everything you read.

      Brother Man

  • Francis Quamina Farrier  On 04/26/2021 at 5:47 pm

    Be it known that rice was cultivated in many West African countries such as; Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Cote d’evorie, Mali, Serra Leone and the Congo. STOP trying to re-write history and FACTS.

    • Chris  On 04/27/2021 at 5:53 am

      Ignorance is not bliss.

      • mudhead2  On 04/28/2021 at 3:52 am

        I have been in africa and rice in the countries I was in I never saw a paddy field, but I do know that they used Maze. I am not trying to rewrite any thing. I know history. I do klnow that not so long ago they did start growing rice for word trade with the help of the UISA, but the USA under cut their prices. As for slaves bringing anything this is very unlikely as they were upducted from their tribes by the Arabs or sold into slavery by tribal leaders. When in Mombasa with the British army I went to see an old slave market, and as soon as you entered the place is was like going into a secomnd WW death camp.
        These slave markets were owned by Arabs and controled by Africans, and that is History

      • Chris  On 04/28/2021 at 7:01 am

        Absurd comment. I travelled extensively in Europe, but didn’t see evidence of concentration camps, wars or genocides. So, am I correct to conclude that such horrible things never happened? Similarly, am I to conclude that the colonial invaders didn’t wipe out millions of native tribes in the Americas with their imported disease and guns?

  • mike  On 10/03/2021 at 6:19 am

    when I was serving in the British army, and stationed in Kenya east Africa I went to see an old slave market in Mopmbasa. It was an eye opner. The person in charged was African. His intake on the subject was an eye opner. The tribal chiefs would sell their people into slavery to the arabs, bercause at that time no Europian had entered the Interor of the country. They were brought from all over to be sold. I asked. What happened to those that were not sold. He took us to the rampaths and said. They ended up on the rocks below.
    I always though that slavery was a Europian thing, but it has been going on for years. Infact 100 of years

  • mike  On 10/03/2021 at 6:21 am

    Maze is the stable food of Africa. Rice comes from the East

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