The barber shop is a pillar in the African-American community, and author Quincy Mills chronicles its importance in his new book, “Cutting Along the Color Line.” The book covers the history of black barbershops, and the way the space has changed due to technology. Today on “NewsOne Now,” Mills also noted that most black barbershops during slavery only served white men. As time progressed, older barbers wanted to make black men look good and employable.
“During slavery and right after slavery, the black barbers exclusively groomed white men,” said Mills. “[They] wouldn’t even allow black men to get their hair cuts or even get shaved. White men didn’t want to be shaved next to a black men because for them it signaled this sense of social equality. Barbers had to sort of negotiate their shops in ways we wouldn’t have imagined them doing today.”
Listen to the entire interview below.