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African American Newspapers Forum

Re: Barbershop Clientele Discussion

Happy New Year everyone!!!!!

Barbering has been a long-time trade among my Adams & Reno ancestors in Ohio, Michigan, Iowa & California, some since the 1840's. They all practiced their trade in communities with relatively small AA populations. Through the years some had only white customers, or black customers, while others had a mixed customer base.

In the 1850 census for Clark County, Ohio every person with the listed occupation of Barber was a person of color.

During the 1940's while growing up in Piqua, Ohio about the same size of Sandusky, Ohio referenced in your article there were 4 AA barbers.... 2 had only white customers during 'regular' business hours, 1 had a shop primarily for blacks and the other cut hair for both "by appointment".

Another item of interest about who may have been AA Newspaper correspondents. From the WPA Slave Narratives of 1937-1938 located at the Ohio Historical Society this quote is found in the interview of David Wilborn, an ex-slave. BTW, his brother was a Barber.
"Then I come to Yellow Springs, Ohio, and worked with, my brother John in a hotel there. That was about 65 years ago."

"I come to Springfield 63 years ago and begun work in the Lagonda Hotel.

I learned to read and write by the traveling men who come to the hotel. But I read all I had time to read and used a dictionary all the time."

"I represented the Negroes of Springfield as their correspondent in the
following papers: The Cleveland Gazette; The voice of the People; The Lexington Herald; The Detroit Plaindealer; The Christian Recorder of Philadelphia, which Bishop Lee was editor of; and the Indianapolis Freeman,"

For a look at all of the WPA ex-slave interviews taken in Springfield, Ohio in 1937-1938.

I thought that 'tidbit' on Mr. Wilborn's activity as a correspondent might be of interest to you.

Take care and hopefully I'll see you Cleveland, OH for the OGS Conference in April.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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