Introduction : Finding politics in unexpected places : the matrix of beauty, business, and politics -- Beauty pioneers : racial uplift and gender in the creation of a Black business community -- "Link up with us" : Black beauty culture, racial politics, and the complexities of modern Black womanhood -- "This industry is not typical, but exceptional" : redefining entrepreneurship and activism in the 1930s and 1940s -- "We could turn the whole world over" : the international presence of African American beauticians in the postwar era -- "Black beauticians were very important" : Southern beauty activists and the modern Black freedom struggle -- "Among the things that used to be" : beauticians, health activism, and the politics of dignity in the post-civil rights era
This work is a reassessment of black beauty salons as vital sites for social change. Looking through the lens of black business history, it shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. The author argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly frivolous space of a beauty salon actually has stimulated social, political, and economic change. From the founding of the National Negro Business League in 1900 and onward, African Americans have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit by starting their own businesses, but black women's forays into the business world were overshadowed by those of black men. With a broad scope that encompasses the role of gossip in salons, ethnic beauty products, and the social meanings of African American hair textures, she shows how African American beauty entrepreneurs built and sustained a vibrant culture of activism in beauty salons and schools. Enhanced by portrayals of black beauticians and drawing on archival research and oral histories, this woork conveys the everyday operations and rich culture of black beauty salons as well as their role in building community.
African American women political activists--History Search this