PHILADELPHIA – You would certainly expect black and white women to shop at the same stores, luxuriate in the same spas, even frequent the same makeup counters. And more than five decades after Rosa Parks held on to her bus seat, they do.
But there was one beauty barrier that was never breached: hair salons.
All things being equal, women’s hair was not.
Because no one, according to the conventional wisdom, could style a black woman’s hair except another African American, salons were the only institutions more segregated than church on Sunday mornings. It’s a well-known scene: Black women gather at their beauty parlors for everything from straightening to socializing.