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Black barbershop in Davidson stands the test of time

A barbershop in Davidson has a rich history. Despite all of the barbers being Black, they would only cut the hair of white customers.

DAVIDSON, N.C. — If you've lived in and around the Charlotte area long enough you know that the town of Davidson was once separated by railroad tracks: one side for Black residents and the other side for whites.  

Similarly, one barbershop only served white customers, and that was despite all the barbers being Black.

James Raeford owns a Black barbershop, Raeford's Barbershop, in the town of Davidson and said he's honored to be a part of history. 

Raeford said he inherited the shop from his father who started the business in 1993.

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"He was cutting hair in Cornelius and this spot opened up and they asked if he wanted to put a barbershop in town," Raeford said. 

Raeford said his father came to Davidson back in 1957 and originally worked at Johnson Barbershop. At the time, the shop would only cut white people's hair. 

Raeford said the owner of the barbershop, Mr. Johnson, lived on the west side of town. Raeford said Mr. Johnson was Black but said people thought he was white. 

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"He could pass, yeah," Raeford chuckled. 

Raeford told the story of when a Black student and a white student walked into the barbershop together. Raeford said the barbershop started cutting the Black student's hair and the town of Davidson started picketing. 

Raeford said during that time, Mr. Johnson even had a brick thrown through his window. 

Raeford recalled that Mr. Johnson's father also had a barbershop not too far away. In the same family, some relatives also had a barbershop pretty close to that one. 

"So it was a family feud between the two," Raeford said. "Who was going to get Mr. Johnson's dad's barbershop." 

Raeford said Mrs. Johnson ended up getting the barbershop before it burned down and was later moved. 

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