Editor’s note: The reporting and recordings of barbershops in Chicago for this “On the Ground,” were conducted last year, before the pandemic of COVID-19 and the massive protests against police brutality.
For many growing up in Chicago, the barbershop is a refuge. Raised on the Windy City’s West Side, Report for America corps member Manny Ramos knows that fact well.
“Barbers do more than just cut hair,” he says, “they record history.”
They hear about the aspirations of the people whose hair they trim, and whose major life events they mark together. Ramos’ reporting shows us how the barbershop has come to play a key role as a “community center” in Chicago, and how the loss of one barber rippled through the South Side.
Listen to previous episodes of On the Ground with Report for America: