A Closer Look at Black Barber Haircuts

The History of Black Barbering

After slavery ended, black men started working as barbers in Charleston and across America. Black barbershops served as meeting places for the black community, providing support and a platform to discuss societal issues. Henry M. Morgan established Tyler Barber College in 1934, training the majority of black barbers by 1940. Today, black barbershops remain essential gathering places for socializing and getting a haircut.

The Early Years

Enslaved barbers worked for their masters and opened their shops after gaining freedom. These businesses provided economic independence and allowed African Americans to affirm their masculinity through discussion and competition. They also acted as safe spaces for discussing social reform.

The Middle Years

Barbershops became hubs of black communities, offering empowerment and socialization during difficult times. After emancipation, black barbers shifted their focus to serving black clients and became successful entrepreneurs. Prominent figures such as Alonzo Herndon made fortunes and faced backlash from resentful whites.

The Late Years

Black barbershops became political hubs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They played a role in shaping the social awareness and worldview of individuals like Kwame Ture. Initially serving white clients, Black barbers eventually dominated the industry and became symbols of black entrepreneurship. Today, black barbershops continue to cater primarily to black clients.