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Welcome to the International African American Museum! Please note that all visitors need to book timed tickets in advance. Popular dates and times may be sold out.

Nov 21, 2023

Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom (On-Demand Webinar)

Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom

Black barbers may have been the only men in their community who enjoyed, at all times, the privilege of free speech. The reason lay in their temporary—but absolute—power over a client. With a flick of the wrist, they could have slit the throats of the white men they shaved. In “Knights of the Razor”, Douglas Walter Bristol, Jr., explores this extraordinary relationship in the largely untold story of African American barbers, North and South, from the American Revolution to the First World War.

Dr. Barber speaks to how the one thing we get from the lives of these barbers is how they lived in the middle of plantation slave districts, yet, they had the determination to rise above their circumstances. They held the belief that they had every right to be successful. And they were successful, generation after generation, during some of the most difficult years African Americans had to deal with. They were consistently successful. They not only helped themselves, they helped the rest of their community. In light of slavery and Jim Crow, the fact that they had such fortitude and generosity was really amazing and something that should be honored.