Originally published on May 3, 2014
Quincy T. Mills, PhD '06, was interviewed by Kai Ryssdal, host of public radio's Marketplace (January 28, 2014), and John L. Hanson Jr., host of KUT's In Black America (March 30, 2014), about his new book, Cutting Along the Color Line (Philadelphia, 2013), which chronicles the cultural history of black barber shops as businesses and civic institutions in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the United States.
Mills examines the transition from slavery to freedom, the expansion of black consumerism, and the barbering profession's significant, complicated role in twentieth-century racial politics. By tracing the lineage of nineteenth-century barbers to the thriving enterprises of today, he demonstrates that barbering was crucial to the development of both black commercial and democratic social spheres. The book is an expansion of Mills's dissertation; his committee included Thomas C. Holt (chair), James Grossman, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell.
Mills is an associate professor of history at Vassar College.
By Joanne M. Berens, MFA'93, email@example.com