Chapter 1

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The Rise and Fall of the American Barber Shop
African-American Barbers and the End of Clean-Shavenness


The first chapter of Groomed for Power argues that the hardening of white supremacy over the early nineteenth century made white male elites increasingly fearful of the black men who dominated the barbering trade. And that as terrified customers abandoned the barbershop in favor of shaving themselves, many soon realized just what a difficult task they had chosen to undertake. Confronted with the increasingly painful prospect of home shaving, many white men instead opted to grow facial hair.

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