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African American Newspapers Forum

Re: Barbershop Clientele Discussion

Tim and Art,

I believe your suspicions are well founded, as I found a ggggreat uncle listed in the censuses as a barber, however, in an early 19th century Indianapolis, Ind. directory he was listed as a "hair dresser." I wonder if that means he was doing women's hair, which I would have thought unlikely at that time. My own hairdresser, who is a male, however, tells me that it was not uncommon for men to do black womens hair in the mid 1800s. Additionally, don't forget that George Knox, the editor of the Indianapolis Freeman was himself a barber and may have recruited other barbers as correspondents to his newspaper.

What I find interesting about the "exclusion of blacks as patrons" issue, is that I would have expected this in the hotels and white establishments of the time, but it was a particularly disturbing practice if utilized in black owned barbershops.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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