In 1997, in Dallas, Texas, a single mother with five children, Isis Brantley, was working in her small natural hair braiding shop doing what she had become renowned for, braiding a client’s hair. Suddenly three police cars pull up in front, and 7 plain clothes and uniformed officers burst in, and telling her “you are under arrest for braiding hair.” Imagine that: under arrest for braiding hair you say? Unbelievable right?
She was allowed to call a friend to arrange for her five kids to be picked up from school, and then handcuffed, put into the back of one police car like a common criminal and sped off to Dallas County jail.
Following this incident, and paying her fine, she commenced to wage war on Big Tex, a war that lasted 20 years.
Finally in 2015 a US District court gave her a WIN, striking down the State Cosmetology Board rules requiring a license to braid hair. Big Tex had violated Brantley’s rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Her battle and sacrifices gave freedom to all braiders and aspiring braiders in Texas, allowing hundreds of women to learn braiding and natural hair styling, and become self-employed entrepreneurs.
Here is her story: