Nov 12, 2017
Female-owned beauty salons for African American women in the United States between the 1920s and 1950s were look upon as the golden age for beauty culturist. Middle-class black beauticians, who had education but faced racial discrimination in other ‘female’ careers (like nursing and education), had particular investment in seeing themselves as professionals. Meanwhile, African American beauty industry leaders claimed their business was bettering the lives of black women, not just by helping clients to look their best, but also by offering occupational opportunities to working-class African American women. Thus beauticians often invoked the rhetoric of racial uplift when explaining the importance of their work.
Today, 2017, are Black salons still regarded in the same light as safe havens? How has salon integration changed the conversation about race? Do Black women feel because of salon inclusion that they no longer have a safe haven to feel free to discuss what's going on in their community?
Walker, S. (2008). “Independent Livings” or “No Bed Of Roses”?: How Race and Class Shaped Beauty Culture as an Occupation for African American Women fro the 1920s to the 1960. Journal of Women’s History. 20(3): 60-83.