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Taalib-Din Uqdah and Pamela Ferrell

Pioneers in the natural hair care field, Taalib din Uqdah, along with his wife Pamela Ferrell, opened Cornrows & Co. in 1980 to provide high-quality African hair styling to customers in Washington, D.C. Cornrows & Co. soon flourished, providing a popular service to the community, paying tens of thousands of dollars in taxes annually and creating jobs and training opportunities for the unemployed.

But almost immediately, the Board of Cosmetology commenced a decade-long campaign of harassment. In 1989, the nation’s capital slapped Cornrows & Co. with $1,000 in fines for operating a beauty salon and training program without a cosmetology license, even though the District’s cosmetology program did not teach natural hair braiding.

In IJ’s first case, Uqdah and Ferrell partnered with the Institute for Justice and sued the District of Columbia. One year later, the D.C. city council voted to create a separate license for hair braiders in December 1992.

  • November 1, 1991    |   Economic Liberty

    Washington DC Hair Braiding

    Challenging Barriers To Economic Opportunity: Uqdah v. Board of Cosmetology

    The Institute for Justice represented Taalib-Din Abdul Uqdah and his wife Pamela Ferrell in their successful challenge to the 1938 Cosmetology Code of the District of Columbia. For more than a decade, Uqdah, the owner of a successful African hair-braiding salon, Cornrows & Co., was harassed by the unelected Board of Cosmetology of the District…

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