Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry

Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women's Activism in the Beauty Industry

by Tiffany M. Gill
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0252076966

ISBN-13: 9780252076961

Pub. Date: 02/15/2010

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

Looking through the lens of black history, Beauty Shop Politics shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. Tiffany M. Gill argues that the beauty industry played a crucial role in the creation of the modern black female identity and that the seemingly

Overview

Looking through the lens of black history, Beauty Shop Politics shows how black beauticians in the Jim Crow era parlayed their economic independence and access to a public community space into platforms for activism. Tiffany M. Gill 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 onwards, African Americans have embraced the entrepreneurial sprit by starting their own business 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, Gill shows how African American beauty entrepreneurs built and sustained a vibrant culture of activism in beauty salons and schools. Enhanced by lucid portrayals of black beauticians and drawing on archival research and oral histories, Beauty Shop Politics conveys the everyday operations and rich culture of black beauty salons as well as their role in building community.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780252076961
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
Publication date:
02/15/2010
Series:
Women in American History Series
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
810,538
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Finding Politics in Unexpected Places: The Matrix of Beauty, Business, and Activism 1

1 Beauty Pioneers: Racial Uplift and Gender in the Creation of a Black Business Community 7

2 "Link Up with Us": Black Beauty Culture, Racial Politics, and the Complexities of Modern Black Womanhood 32

3 "This Industry Is not Typical, but Exceptional": Redefining Entrepreneurship and Activism in the 1930s and 1940s 61

4 "We Could Turn the Whole World Over": The International Presence of African American Beauticians in the Postwar Era 82

5 "Black Beauticians Were Very Important": Southern Beauty Activists and the Modern Black Freedom Struggle 98

6 "Among the Things that Used to Be": Beauticians, Health Activism, and the Politics of Dignity in the Post-Civil Rights Era 121

Notes 137

Bibliography 169

Index 187

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