Fleming Brothers Barber Shop

Sewickley Black History Tour

Fleming Brothers Barber Shop

Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143, United States

Created By: Sweetwater Center for the Arts


Fleming Brothers Barber Shop
Wolcott Park, 502 Beaver Street, Sewickley

In this prominent corner of town, before Wolcott Park, there once stood buildings with small businesses. This was the location of one of the first two Black owned businesses in Sewickley. Both were barber shops, opened circa 1885, and were the only two Black businesses in town for quite a few years. John Howard’s shop was on Chestnut Street and the Fleming Brothers had their shop here in the heart of the village. Both barber shops only cut white patrons' hair in the beginning of their time in business, which was common of Black barbers in the late 1800s and had roots in the long held status of being in service to white people. After a time, this building was sold, and the Fleming Brother’s Barber Shop moved into their home on Thorn Street. At that time, the brothers started cutting the hair of African Americans in town.

Black History of the Time (1885-1890s)
The history of Black owned businesses began before the end of slavery in 1865, but Emancipation allowed Black business owners to operate within the legal structure, offering more opportunity and greater prosperity. Throughout the Reconstruction Era and afterwards the number of Black owned small businesses expanded dramatically. This is the period that Sewickley saw its first Black business owners as well. Barber shops were among the most common types of businesses owned by Black Americans during this time, along with insurance companies, banks, retail stores, funeral homes, and restaurants.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Sewickley Black History Tour


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