A Black-Owned Barbershop In Portland, Oregon, Has Made It Into The National Register Of Historic Places

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As part of an effort to recognize and protect Black history, a Black-owned barbershop in Portland, Oregon, has made it on the National Register Of Historic Places.

Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barbershop, located in Northeast Portland, has been added to the register. Kimberly Brown hosted a community block party in front of the shop last month to celebrate the honor. The party also celebrated the shop founders, Brown’s grandparents Ben and Mary Rose Dean.

“My grandparents died long ago,” Brown, who is also a salon stylist, told OregonLive. “They’d be shocked, excited, and proud of all that’s happened.”

According to Brown, her grandparents moved to Portland from Alabama in 1944 during The Great Migration, when more than 4 million Black people left the South and moved across the country to various cities seeking greater opportunities. Brown added that it was an almost impossible task because Portland at the time was segregated.

After moving to Portland, Brown’s grandparents saved to buy a house and opened a salon in the basement. Brown’s grandmother has a hair-styling license from Alabama, and her grandfather went to a Portland barber school to earn his license.

Wanting to expand the business, the couple looked to purchase a nearby vacant lot and build a place for the salon. But like today, obtaining a bank loan is difficult for Black small business owners. As a result, Brown said her grandparents got an “unconventional loan,” purchased the lot, and built the salon, which opened in 1956.

Dean’s Beauty Shop and Barbershop made it on the national registry thanks to Kimberly Moreland, a customer who moved to Portland from Cleveland with her husband and four kids and became a salon customer in 2016.

“When I walked into the salon, it reminded me of the salon I was raised in,” Moreland told OregonLive. “It was a very precious moment from my childhood. Dean’s felt like home. It was nostalgic. The family photos on the wall, the wonderful conversations.”