19th Century Black-Owned Barbershops and Their Prominent White Clientele

0 Posted by - August 14, 2015 - BLACK MEN, DID YOU KNOW, Looking Black On Today

Did you know that during the 19th century many of the -owned served prominent White men? Black men did not use the black barber for a shave or hair cut because black barbers would could not use the same instruments on both men. White men during this time did not want anything that was used on a Black man to touch their skin.  The shops were mainly operated by freedmen, slaves or waiting men, and these barbers were actually competing against the white barbers for business. The Black barbers made good money as long as they went by the White man’s rules.

Black barbers were not about to give up their steady flow of money, and service Black men. So, it is said when the Black men came in looking for a shave or hair cut that didn’t know about the rules, they were quickly turned away. Black barbers were able to live a middle class life-style and provide well for their household. The profession was also attractive to the black barber because the conditions of working inside were much better than the fields or other hard  labor jobs.


However, once the Emancipation happened, the black-owned barbershops were opened to serve black clientele. That was the beginning of the barbershop as a sanctuary for black men. According to Vassar College history Professor Quincy Mills, “barbering became a way for some African-Americans “to find some little pockets to sort of figure out how they could at least earn a little bit of money, and control their time — which of course was what slaves did not have control over.”

Now fast forward to present times the are still around. However, there is no discrimination. Usually all people are welcomed but it seems that White men seem to still go to the white barbers, and well the Black men to the black barbers. Even though this still is the way it is for the two cultures, it would appear that Black men have been cutting and shaving White men dated back to the early part of the 19th century, maybe even further.






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