Cutting Along the Color Line by Quincy T. Mills '93
Class of 1993 graduate Quincy Mills has had a busy life since he received his diploma from Leo High School.
by earning his B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his M.B.A. from DePaul, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
He currently occupies himself teaching African American history at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY where he has found the time to write a well received book on the history of black barber shops in America.
book, Cutting Along the Color Line chronicles the cultural history of black barber shops as businesses and civic institutions.
Through several generations of barbers, Mills
examines the transition from slavery to freedom in the nineteenth century, the early twentieth-century expansion of black consumerism, and the challenges of professionalization, licensing laws, and competition from white barbers.
finds that the profession played a significant though complicated role in twentieth-century racial politics: while the services of shaving and grooming were instrumental in the creation of socially acceptable black masculinity, barbering permitted the financial independence to maintain public spaces that fostered civil rights politics.
This sweeping, engaging history of an iconic cultural establishment shows that black entrepreneurship was intimately linked to the struggle for equality.
"Quincy T. Mills's
important book provides fascinating insight into the history of African American barbers.
has taken a familiar institution, the neighborhood barbershop, and revealed an unknown history that utterly transforms our understanding of what we thought it was.