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Derrick Green Talks about DeLuxe Barbershop and its Legacy

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Derrick Green Talks about DeLuxe Barbershop and its Legacy


North Carolina Green Book Site


Lisa Withers and Derrick Green




Courtesy Lisa Withers. This item is under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)






Oral History





Mr. Green


0:00 [Mr. Green]

I try to make this barber shop, as old as it is, I try to make it feel like a living room: comfortable, come and kick your feet up. I’ve got clients that come in and go to sleep. Don’t even want no haircut, they just want to come and be in the barber shop. It’s our country club. This is the Black man’s country club: the barber shop. This is our country club, the barber shop. There’s nothing on this Earth like a Black man’s barber shop. I don’t know about the other people. I’m sure every barber shop is the same, same principle, whatever, whatnot. But when you’ve got a barber shop where you can come in… You can get your dentist. You can get your psychiatrist. You can get your hair cut. You can get you something to eat. Somebody might come through here with a pack of batteries that you might need. Everything’s in the barber shop. This is a flea market. This is a country club. This is a hospital. Because I might have a nurse in here; I might have a sheriff in here. I might have regular police. You never know what you’ll run into in the barber shop. This is the barber shop.

01:08 [Mr. Green]

This is our country club, and I’m just thankful. And I’m proud that Mr. Hope gave me a chance to keep his legacy going. Because I try to make sure that everybody knows. Do y’all know the history of this shop? I try to make people understand. I’ve got a sign. You can get a picture of this sign right there, too. That one up there. You see it, up there above the door? I keep it going, and the only thing he ever asked me to do was not change the name. When he called me and told me his lawyer wanted to meet me, and I signed them papers to take over this, he said, “The only thing I ask is that you don’t change the name.” I said, “Mr. Hope, I would have never done that anyway.” I would have never changed the name of this. I know the history of this shop. I would have never done that. Never. Never, never, never, never, never. If I open another one, I’m going to name that one the same thing: Deluxe Barber Shop 2.

02:03 [Lisa]

Did he ever share why he named it that?

02:07 [Mr. Green]

At the time, he did say that everything was… See, going back to Black Wall Street and all those days, Black Renaissance era and everything, there was a lot of celebrities that used to come through Durham: Martin Luther King, James Brown, so forth, so on, etc. So, he figured, ‘If I can give them a deluxe service, I should be called Deluxe Barber Shop,’ because this is when James Brown used to get… James Brown sat in this chair right here, Lisa! This chair, right here.

02:45 [Lisa]

The James Brown.

02:46 [Mr. Green]

Yeah! Martin Luther King sat in this chair right here. Have you every heard of John Hope Franklin? Sat in this chair right here. Why do you think as soon as he gave me… I came right here. That’s why I’ve never gotten rid of any of these chairs. Who knows who sat in the other ones? I’m telling you; these are the stories he told me. He and John Hope Franklin was like that. John Hope was from Chicago. He would come to Durham at least 3 or 4 times a year, according to Mr. Hope, and they wouldn’t go anywhere else but here. James Brown would… They would perform downtown because this was Black Wall Street. Everything downtown Durham, Hayti area was all Black. The theatres, the hotels, and everything was all Black. Martin Luther King would march. Muhammad Ali sat in this chair right here. Take a picture of the chair. I’m telling you. This is all according to him, now. I wasn’t there. I’m telling you what the man told me, and I believe him. Who’s going to claim to be that, that’s not that? You see there? There’s a lot of people been through here.

Original Format