Audio Recordings "Sometimes even the barber has been a place where men could come and pour out their troubles to."

Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Levitas, Susan
McDowell, Rev. Louis
Dates 1994
Location New Jersey
United States
Language English
Subjects African Americans
Family Run Businesses
McDowell's Barber Shop (Paterson, N.J.)
Oral History
Sound Recordings
"Sometimes even the barber has been a place where men could come and pour out their troubles to."
Contributor Names
McDowell, Rev. Louis (Narrator)
Levitas, Susan, 1961- (Interviewer)
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  African Americans
-  Oral history
-  Interviews
-  Sound recordings
-  Family-run businesses
-  Barbershops
-  McDowell's Barber Shop (Paterson, N.J.)
-  Ethnography
-  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson
-  Interview with Reverend Louis McDowell, owner, McDowell's Barber Shop.
-  Summary of audio segment: (Role of barber in a neighborhood or community?) it's been a business throughout the ages; everybody likes to get dressed up and to get dressed up without a haircut is not completely dressed up. "The barber's duty, his line in the life of a neighborhood, is to keep people groomed, keep people looking well, keep people -- sometimes even the barber has been a place where men could come and pour out their troubles to. Sometimes they have gotten, had, an argument or disagreement with their wives, and an experienced barber could say, 'Oh no, it shouldn't be like that.'" "While you're working on a person's face, his body, you can get a little closer to him. In other words, you're right by his ear anyway and he's got to hear you anyway. So, this way, you're a little closer to him and you have an advantage to talk to him. Some barbers have been in a neighborhood for years. I cut your grandfather's hair. I cut your father's hair. Now, I'm cutting your hair and then I'll be cutting your kids' hair. This has happened to me." When I first opened up here, the kids that were ten years old are forty years old now. "It's a very important place in a neighborhood. Like years ago: first the home, the church and the school. Then when it comes down to in the neighborhood: the grocery store, the barber and all like that, the butcher. They all fall in line making up the community." It's a good fellowship down through the ages.
Digital Audio Tape
Call Number
AFC 1995/028: WIP-SL-A022
Source Collection
Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id

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Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

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