The barbershop has been an important institution in the African-American community for generations. But what many don’t know is that up until about the Reconstruction era, pretty much all barbers in the United States -- whether they cut the hair of white men or black men -- were African-American, and that barbering provided many black men a good enough living to enter the upper middle class.
Today on the show, I talk to historian Douglas Bristol about his book recounting this lost part of American male history. It’s called "Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom." Today on the show, Doug and I discuss the rise of the black barber in slaveholding states in the South, the influence black barbers had in the white community, and how black barbers paved the way for the modern barbershop. We also discuss the factors that led to the segregation of the barbershop and why the barbershop maintained a stronger allegiance among black men compared to their white counterparts.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.