INGRAM: Here this morning to interview Mr. J. D. Hall, who is anentrepreneur and independent businessman from Ypsilanti. Mr. Hall has typically been known or referred to as Mr. Bucks, originally came from the Sou—the South, Arkansas. Mr. Hall, where were you born?
HALL: I was born in Louisiana, raised in Arkansas.
INGRAM: What year?
HALL: Oh, man, you’re getting back into my age, there, 1918 [laughs]
INGRAM: Your parents’ name? Especially your mother’s maiden name.
HALL: My mother’s maiden name was, is Al—Alma Newt, N-E-W-T. And, uh,
HALL: My father’s Wes Hall, I understand they got married in their early age,and, uh, and then they moved, well, they both was from Louisiana, and they both moved right up to the line of Arkansas and Louisiana.
INGRAM: What was your father’s occupation?1:00
HALL: My father’s oc-occupation was a, he’s a farmer, he’s, uh, guesswhen, some of the first jobs he had he worked on the railroad section gang [looked at him], cross ties and prepared the railroad, understand, but since I been a child, since I’ve known him, he’s, he’s been more or less a farmer.
INGRAM: How many brothers and sisters, brothers and sisters do you have?
HALL: Well, you mean how many do I have now, or how many
INGRAM: Yeah, well,
HALL: was it earlier at the beginning?
INGRAM: At the beginning. How many brothers and sisters?
HALL: Oh, it was five, it was five of us boys, and it was, uh, six girls.
INGRAM: Could I have their names?
HALL: Oh yeah, my sister’s name, the oldest one, who is who passed aboutfourteen years ago, fifteen I guess, her name is Libbie, she’s married to, she’s married to John [Chass]. Uh, my next oldest sister is Lucille, who now lives in Ann Arbor, who, really I came here after she did, uh, Lucille. 2:00
INGRAM: I like—
INGRAM: [Prentiss]? Okay. A list of all their names.
HALL: And also, Catherine Smith, Lorrine Wells, uh, Willie-Jean Currie, andLibbie William, think that’s all of them. My brother is John Hall, he’s, in fact he just passed a month ago on the 4th of July, uh, and then next is my brother John—Joe Hall, who has been shift department for several years and the next one is Wes, Junior, and he lives in uh, Seattle, and then Tom, the [baby 3:00right]. [I know us].
INGRAM: When did you first arrive up north? You, you indicated that you firstarrived in Ann Arbor, before you arrived to Ypsilanti, what year did you arrive in Ann Arbor?
HALL: I came actually January of nineteen, nineteen-forty-six.
INGRAM: To Ann Arbor, Michigan.
HALL: To Ann Arbor.
INGRAM: Why did you come?
HALL: I actually came to go to school, but I was in-interested in, inengineering school, but I, oh, found that my ess—credentials and things was not strong enough, or my background to get into Michigan, so I started looking at another couple more trades, which was, uh, one was electronic, which I was actually on my way to [clear walk] in Chicago, which I probably would have entered school there, in one of the, one of the, uh, electronic schools, but my sister Lucille, you know, that’s older sister, but she encouraged me strongly 4:00to stay in Ann Arbor, because I was, I was a barber in service, and so the only thing I had to do, was go to, go to barber school and get my license, and I would become, be authorized to barber here, so [they spoke of they] needed a barber so bad, so I [ ] barber school.
INGRAM: What made you decide to set up a barber school in Ypsilanti as opposedto Ann Arbor?
HALL: Well, actually, I did two [ ] several reasons. One reason that, uh, atthat time, there just wasn’t any place to rent. You couldn’t even hardly rent a room, that was ’cause I was, where I first slept I was staying with my aunt and my sister, sleeping in the kitchen, that’s about the best, the best I could do, so far as a room, so far as renting a place for business, it was just almost, it was just almost, more it was just impossible, there wasn’t no place at all to rent. And so, and secondly, uh, in order to well, even today, in order 5:00to, to barber, cut hair, after you finish school, you have to work, work as an apprentice here for about two years, and in order to work for two years, two years, before you get your master’s license, to open up a, so you be, uh, have the authority, you have the, you know, authority to open up one yourself, you see, I had to work these two years for another man, some other master barber, so, in order to do that, you have to have somebody to accept you, and I didn’t have nobody to accept me, so, the only one then I guess is John Easley, who had the barber shop on Ann Street, and he had one apprentice, and so he didn’t seem to be interested in another one.
INGRAM: So he, he took you in?
INGRAM: Oh, he didn’t.
HALL: No, and I had to, and I was, I was living in Ann Arbor, but there was a6:00friend, there’s, not a friend but a fellow who I met who was at that time [Santin McKenny] was in, he was about like I am, in different business and things, so, he had the cleaner’s in Ypsi and had one in Ann Arbor right around, right in the shop, right in the building I’m in now, and he told me about this gentleman over in, uh, Ypsilanti who was a, a barber, old, old gentleman, and say he probably would take me in over there, now I, now I, when he brought, come over to bring his pickup to his I guess his business for when he had gathered over there for cleaning purposes, well then, he take me over there to, to meet Mr. Travis, the man is a, he’s a Canadian
INGRAM: What was his first name?
HALL: Sam Travis.
INGRAM: Sam Travis.
HALL: Yeah, he had been at that time he had, had in forty-six he, he had toldme he had been cutting hair in a, this area, between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, for forty years. 7:00
INGRAM: Oh. So you became apprenticeship under him.
HALL: Under him.
HALL: So, and I worked out my apprenticeship and I had bought some property inAnn Arbor, during that time, but it, I wasn’t aware of the commercial and, and uh, residential zoning, so I found out it was only for a resident, and I couldn’t put a barber shop there, and so then I bought some in Ypsi now, where it was commercial, where a barber shop was allowed.
INGRAM: Um, while, while an apprentice under this individual, once youcompleted your apprenticeship, what made you decide to strike out on your own, and open up your own barber shop?
HALL: Well, I tell you what I saw, a great need for service, this service, uh,personal service, there was no barber shop that was actually what we as we were 8:00barbers who went to barber school and we had learned all of the theory and uh, and the sanitation, requirements, and I know that to be, at the time, see, people said, well, they thought in terms of [going to] barber being a, a thing that you don’t need to go to school for, man [is to] know how to cut hair he don’t need to go to school for it, but there’s so many things that, that, uh, that was, the older barbers didn’t know at the time, the barber shop was called, at that time was called the ‘germ carriers’ almost among, some people, because
INGRAM: You mean, barber shops were known as ‘germ carriers’?
HALL: I mean, I’m talking about these local, here,
HALL: that was [be] what peop—that was [in], by, by their schools, after theschool, I say the barber shops shops ‘germ carrier’ because they wasn’t aware of the kind of INGRAM: Hygiene, [sanitation],
HALL: sanitation hygiene, sanitation,
HALL: that was, uh, was, uh, supposed to been, exist in a barber shop. ’Causesee, the, going back in the history, you can see people with their face all this 9:00messed up with all kinds, but see, you used to get a lot of shaves in a barber shop, no sanitation, using the same brush, the same towel, same everything,
INGRAM: Oh, it’d get infected.
HALL: Yeah. infection, yeah.
INGRAM: Wow. What were some of your other observations? You indicated that, younoticed that in Ypsilanti there was a real need for a, a barbershop, a black barbershop, in the area of personal services, what other kind of observations did you notice about the community that you felt that you may have needed?
HALL: Oh, it needed every—a lot of things. Housing, it needed, uh, uh, well,there’s no lawyers, and no, uh, at that time there wasn’t even a black lawyer in Ypsilanti, maybe one in Ann Arbor, there were only one, uh, one or two maybe school, black schoolteachers, I guess, even at that time, all of the [surgeon] there’s one man who I guess was on council, was John Burton, 10:00
INGRAM: John Burton.
HALL: Yeah, he but there were no men, no one on the, on the school board at thetime. But later on, after being here, they were, all of those places, kind of, people began to, oh, the spot to get into those places, and, and, uh, from time to time, and so, it just didn’t seem to be at no time, it just didn’t seem to be uh, nobody was concerned about things, at least, and so, and so, and after we, uh, seen all of this well I tried to buy a place down on, I’m going to buy a place on Michigan Avenue, I wasn’t really aware of the fact that I was meeting so many things here that I knew about down South [laughs]
INGRAM: Oh, okay.
INGRAM: What kind of business were you in—interested in purchasing onMichigan Avenue?
HALL: Well, you know, there’s a [right white] just below where the, wherethe, uh, city hall is now, the bank was, uh, but it’s now city hall, [it was 11:00over], it was part of that building next to it, well, half of it had kind of washed off, and uh, it was, lent to the, that little
INGRAM: rest of the place?
HALL: part of it, yeah. And uh, and it was selling, and I had, the check [donein] and they settled for eight thousand dollars, and I was going to try to buy this place, but the [woman I had] in the downtown, who I had a real, uh, connection with, with, with the bank,
HALL: was a, was a, a lumber account man, what is it, what is it, Moorman’slumber account, Moorman’s, George Moorman,
INGRAM: George Moorman,
HALL: Yeah, he was a white guy who was on the board of directors for the YpsiSavings Bank,
HALL: and uh, and when I spoke of that, anytime I was talking about doingsomething on the Harriet, well, okay, but when I spoke of that, well, then, that’s when he’d always disencourage me, oh, you don’t want that, that, that place is nothing, and what have you, and so, and I, anyway, I, I, I 12:00didn’t, I didn’t try, I didn’t go any farther because I knew I would have to have some bank, some assistance from the bank, and he was my own loan of recommendation.
INGRAM: So you were encountering the same kind of racism you’d experienced inthe South
INGRAM: you saw yourself experiencing right here in Ypsi
HALL: Correct. Correct. ’Cause I thought I had, I had thought I had, had, uh,
INGRAM: You understood it when you saw it.
HALL: Yeah, I understood it very much when I saw it, but I thought, I didn’tthink that was existing here, but I, but I still couldn’t understand why all of the, uh, black people lived below Buffalo, south side of town,
HALL: only place that real estate would talk, realtors would talk to me aboutselling property, it always would be somewhere below Buffalo, further south, Buffalo or further south,
HALL: Harriet Street, that area.
INGRAM: Uh, were there any major, uh, black businesses in Ypsilanti that you,that you noticed when you arrived here? I mean, what were some of your 13:00impressions about businesses in general, were there any black businesses already established? And if so, what were they, and who were the people?
HALL: Only thing, only, a little, was a little store, couple of little stores,one was a gentleman called Mr. Shackleford. Forget what, what his first name, Shackleford, later died, he was a great sportsman, [took on gloves]
INGRAM: Was he black?
HALL: Yeah, he’s black.
INGRAM: Does he own a store?
HALL: He’s on, yeah, he’s on Monroe.
INGRAM: What kind of store did he own?
HALL: It was called a neighborhood grocery store. And I think at, at that time,[core opinion]. And, then, uh, then, Mr. Amos Washington, he was a housing director, at the time we were public housing. He had a little store, restaurant, I believe, right down from, on Harriet, from, just where, from where we are now, where the barber shops are now.
HALL: He was in business, but he was a, he was a, a director for the housingproject, for the public housing project. Mr. Beatty, he, as I say, he was, he 14:00was a principal of Perry, Harriet school at the time, it was called. Uh, Doctor, oh yes, Doctor Perry, at the dental school, he’s, know [loyal] Perry, you know, the football player?
INGRAM: He was a dentist, Doctor Perry?
HALL: Yeah, he was a dentist.
INGRAM: Who else owned businesses, that you uh, saw?
HALL: Well, it’s, Herbert Francois was a realtor, real estate man, I believeI bought my, this piece of property through him, on Harriet Street. Uh, Herbert Francois. Uh, he, he died several years, about eight to ten years ago. Uh, let’s see, if there’s someone else I can remember, there’s a few people around, like, did carpenter work, this is, uh, carpenter work, but not contractors, 15:00
HALL: No, not contractors, just [good for a] side customer.
HALL: And ma—you know, masonry work, like that. I think Jim, Jim…Billings,
HALL: He’s, he’s, a scenic contractor, in fact he built my first little building.
INGRAM: Oh. So there were some blacks into businesses, doing their job.
HALL: Yes, there was some.
INGRAM: What, what year was it specifically that you opened your own barbershop in Ypsilanti?
HALL: It’s 1968.
HALL: No, pardon me, 1948.
HALL: Yeah, 1948.
HALL: Opened a, uh, my barber shop in Ypsi. I bought that, it probably musthave been, like, ’47. After I had sold that property in Ann Arbor I believe. I 16:00bought, yeah, that, that, that is, this on High Street, I bought in Ann Arbor, [that situation was], and I sold it and bought this on Harriet Street in Ypsilanti.
INGRAM: So you, you bought some property on, on High Street?
HALL: In Ann Arbor
INGRAM: Oh, in Ann Arbor.
INGRAM: First, and then you sold it and from the money off of it and used it to
HALL: Used it to—
INGRAM: purchase the property
HALL: purchase the property, yeah.
INGRAM: on, on, on what street?—Harriet Street.
HALL: Harriet Street, yeah.
INGRAM: Forty-eight, that’s the year I was born.
HALL: Oh! [laughs] That’s the, that’s the year I, I, uh, [deal the shop]and we opened up the sixteenth of the day. You know, the funny thing about it, everything was happening on the sixteenth, I believe I, I, I entered barber college in, in, in March sixteenth, in forty-six. Opened up the barber, open, and, opened the barber shop on the sixteenth day of, uh, of October, in forty-eight.
INGRAM: Wow. When did you open up the barber shop in Ann Arbor, what year?17:00
HALL: Uh, it was in, uh, I forget the month but it was in, what, ten years later.
INGRAM: Ten years later.
HALL: Ten years later. Fifty-six, in the National Building, in, on Main Street,in the basement, the National Building, in nineteen fifty-eight.
INGRAM: Then you moved from that.
HALL: No, then no, that was the first place, then we uh, lost the lease, forsome reason, somebody bought it [over] as usual, that’s what happened, caused me to buy the building, in Ann Arbor, when we lost this building, lost the lease, the basement there, then we had good people who was very concerned, at the time, now I think I always grateful to him, Mr., doctor, used to be mayor, doctor,
INGRAM: Used to be mayor of Ann Arbor?
HALL: Yeah. Doctor…oh…18:00
INGRAM: He was the mayor during what year?
HALL: Uh, just before this mayor, you know, when the controversy about…he wasmayor and then this one vote, uh,
HALL: Wheeler, yeah, Doctor Wheeler, that’s right. He was on the HumanRelations—I mean,
INGRAM: Human Rights
HALL: Human Rights Commission. And he wanted us to pursue that.
INGRAM: Albert Wheeler.
INGRAM: Doctor Albert Wheeler.
HALL: Yeah, Albert Wheeler, that’s right. I don’t know why I couldn’tthink of it, I’ve known him a long time. Dr. Wheeler, yeah. And he went along with, he and Doctor…oh, I can’t recall his name, anyway, there was a couple of guys who was on the, who was on the, on the Human Rights, uh, Relations, uh, Board.
INGRAM: What did they do, help you secure—
HALL: They secured, helped me secure another building, they wanted to move toproceed this as far as maybe in court if it would be necessary,
INGRAM: Well, what year were you able to get another building?
HALL: Uh, the next building—next, the next year. I know he knew, uh,19:00Marshall, that owned the Marshall bookstore on State Street,
HALL: And we got a, we was able to, he able, get, get us a place up there, helpus to get a place upstairs.
INGRAM: What year was that?
HALL: That was, that’s, that’s somewhere along about sixty-two, or three,somewhere in that area. I may be just a little late on that, I guess a little late on that, ’cause we stayed, we stayed in the basement there quite, quite a while, and uh, so it must be somehow sixty-three or -four, somewhere in that area.
INGRAM: Sixty-three or -four.
HALL: Yeah. And then they sold that building, and they, and they demolished it.And that’s where the, uh, new restaurant down at the corner of State and Washington, yeah, State and Washington, and all of that was demolished and, and a new building was built. We, then the, then we got tired of look like, every time we, just got tired of moving,
HALL: And so, this place come up for sale. Uh, was about to be I guess,someone, just, uh, say the property taken it over for taxes for some reason, what they call that, colored welfare bill,
INGRAM: After being in Ypsilanti and setting up [bill and your] business innineteen-forty-eight, after having already been there for a while, overall, could you tell me what some of your general observations were of uh, of the black community in Ypsilanti? What did you see as some of the major problems facing the black community in Ypsilanti, during that time?
HALL: Motivation is one.
HALL: [Laughs] Uh, for some time, it seemed like it was, just wasn’t anymotivation, uh, people were just, seemed to be satisfied with, you know, the status quo. And, uh, and then, but, I believe, and uh, let me put it like this, 21:00I think it’s because of the real reason what brought this motivation on, [if I not saying] because I’m from the South too, but I think it’s because of the Southern people coming into, [tend] to, Ypsilanti, and all of us wanted to what we call get ahead, and then, then, each one trying to do a little more and a little more, and a little more. And then and I think it’s just the, here’s the people come from the South, who helped to get people, get the whole city motivated and from there right on we start the area, there’s a lot of areas, that’s been improved, so far as, as moving, getting out of there, the locked-in area. And I would say this, I think and I, no one’s going to take this credit, but there’s just a very few people know this, is this, that, when 22:00I first, uh, came here, moved from Ypsi to Ann Arbor, I said I wanted to live between the two cities, and when at that time, there wasn’t, between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, there wasn’t one, one, but one black family that lived between the, downtown Ypsilanti and downtown Ann Arbor, anywhere along the area,
HALL: and, so, not even in a part of it, unless there was someone in maid,doing maid service or something like that. And so, and that was my determination to, that I wanted to do this and, and by having a, I don’t know how but having some connection in Ann Arbor, I was able to, to, buy the property, in Ypsilanti, in, uh, this township uh, several years ago, before any [full] you used to see a black 23:00
INGRAM: This township here?
HALL: Yeah, township, yeah.
HALL: But, uh, but the man who uh, bought the firm, he lived in Ann Arbor, andhe happened to be a foreigner, and I was renting a place from him, there, he told me he had this, this property out here, uh, off of Washtenaw, and it was just, when I saw it, then I said, oh, this is just what I want, and I had to kindly work carefully with him, because I didn’t want him to say, okay, I turn over him to the real estate people, so the real estate people wouldn’t see that, then they wouldn’t have sold it to me, you see, and uh, and then, but he sold it to me on a land contract, and I paid him out like that and then I had ahold of the property several, several years before, before really anybody knew what was going on.
INGRAM: Why did you look more, why did you prefer living between both as24:00opposed to living in, in, in a specific city, like Ann Arbor versus Ypsilanti? Why the middle?
HALL: Well, [if enough on thing], I don’t, I never cared too much for livingin cities, no cities, I was even off the, job and everything in Detroit, when I [ ] I wanted to live between the two cities because I could see what I wanted to do at that time, which was enter into barber [beauty ism], I would be able to, uh, work both ways, and by living both pla—living between the two places I could work either place.
INGRAM: Who were, uh, while, while, while in Ypsilanti with your business, whowere, name, name some of the key, uh, black leaders in the community, that you saw as, saw as holding leadership positions, you know, either ministers versus uh, educators, educators, or politicians, either one, could you name some names for me, individuals that you felt were doing something positive in the black 25:00community nineteen forty-eight, that you can recall, other than John Barfield, I mean, other than, the John Burton, Burton.
HALL: I, I, let me see, I, I don’t, I don’t know, if I could, if I couldreally name anyone, that, it depend on whether what you’re talking about doing something for the community or for themselves or who
INGRAM: Well, people that, people that, uh, were, uh, assertive, that weredoing something that could, could, could command leadership or community respectability.
HALL: I would put this way, there were people in, in positions who peoplelooked to because they was the position that they held, and which at that time was, maybe they were, uh, like Mr. Beatty was a principal of the schools, he had some input there to maybe some sort of people I guess at the time you could call 26:00it one of the leaders, Mr., Dr. Perry, who was a, oh, he was, I believe Dr. Perry was a member of the school board at that time, yeah, I forgot about that, and people looked to him uh, as, as one of the leaders, uh, ’course, you know, most all preachers at that time, at that time we had a [jury chat who] oh, if the preacher didn’t, if you didn’t, you know,
INGRAM: [Presentiment] wasn’t, uh, in the leadership role, talking to
HALL: Well, then he had a rough way to go [laughs]. That’s in both cities,that’s in both cities.
INGRAM: Well, name, name some of those, those ministers
HALL: Well, in, uh, in Ypsilanti was Reverend Garther Roberson, he was the one,he was actually the main one at that time because he didn’t have a lot of churches,
INGRAM: So you mean S. L. Roberson.
HALL: No, S. L. was just a young, youngster.
INGRAM: Garther’s the oldest brother now, I mean, S. L. is the older brother.
HALL: I know it but I, but I say S. L. was, S. L. at the time, what I’m27:00talking about, see, S. L. was just a,
INGRAM: a young [ ]
HALL: just a, he wasn’t even preaching, I don’t think,
INGRAM: Oh, okay.
HALL: at the time, but then later on he got started, but he was just kind of anassistant, to his father.
INGRAM: People looked up to him
HALL: Looked up to his father,
INGRAM: Oh, his father
HALL: His father, yeah.
INGRAM: So his father was the one.
HALL: Yeah, his father was the one, yeah. And then, in Ann Arbor, uh, therewere Reverend Carpenter, and uh, that’s who they looked up to as a minister, and uh, so those are your main, you know, they didn’t have all of these [umpteen] several churches around here. Because the other people who was in these other denominations, wasn’t another follower too much of their political role anyway, didn’t have too much to do with that, but I would say Reverend Roberson and Reverend Cartman in Ann Arbor.
INGRAM: Who were the, who were the black people in, uh, in politics, that triedto represent the community, in some way?
HALL: Oh, I tell you who, yeah, Mrs. Dorsey, I forgot about, Mrs., Mrs. Dorsey,28:00who’s a, who had ran a little, I forgot about her, she ran a little store too, up on, up on [Chelsea].
INGRAM: What’s her first name?
HALL: Uh, Mattie Dorsey.
INGRAM: Mattie Dorsey.
HALL: Yeah, she, who, she led a strong fight against uh, urban renewal, back inthe sixties.
INGRAM: Oh. What kind of store did she own?
HALL: She, she had a, a, little grocery store.
INGRAM: Grocery store. Food store.
HALL: Food store, yeah.
HALL: Yeah. And she, and she was a, she, now, I forgot about, forgot to mentionher. Now in the sixties, boy, she really was, uh,
INGRAM: Battle [up,] eh?
HALL: Ah, she, she, kept, she kept things going, she, and then people gotwhere, they, in the south end, where they really looked for Mrs., they had the highest respect for Mrs. Dorsey, because the urban renewal, so far as we were concerned, or they were concerned, was, was, was, that, was remov—they called it urban removal
INGRAM: Oh, okay.
HALL: when they say the urban renewal, but I do think that that was one who was29:00actually uh, worthwhile because I do know that they’re doing it there before their time, and the people had, I’ve known houses right in that area where the, where the people [say they hurl in the house and no flooring]
INGRAM: That’s sad.
INGRAM: Since 1948, have you, you know, seen or observed any, any betterchanges in the black community in Ypsilanti, has life got better for blacks progressively, in the occupations, in education, race relations, has those things improved in Ypsilanti since nineteen-eight, since nineteen-forty-eight till today, or, what are some of your observations and feelings about that?
HALL: Oh, definitely, oh, definitely so. I agree, uh, I could just mention afew of them,
HALL: because, uh, uh, at the time, well, they, you didn’t have any30:00effectiveness, the living conditions, dwellings, just absolutely improved, uh, I would almost say a hundred percent, there, people being interested in uh, community activities, made themselves more aware, in, in take, taking position on these things, uh, seen the concern of education by people who being aware of just what it mean in in seeing that the, that the children and what have you, and still percentagewise, we still have some, still maybe not uh, seem, don’t seem to be concerned but I’m talking about in these areas it improved a lot, a whole lot. Um, home, I mean, people just, their, their, uh, even around their homes and things, where, they used to care, you pass by, homes, especially on 31:00the south side, you would, look like it was just, thrown away,
HALL: but every place, in just about most of the place, people concerned, theyhad, keeping around their homes, improve [then about their place] all those things, their concerns just a lot there for now. And they moved up in, in the, uh, jobwise, and what have you and so forth, and all categories I’m concerned.
INGRAM: What kind of suggestions, well, I’m trying, do you see for making theblack community more, more responsive, uh, more outgoing [to a certain] I mean, if you were to, I’m going to ask you to give me some, some solutions or some suggestions for, for solutions, could you give me some, or by naming a few?
HALL: I, I would say this, if I could, I would say one of the thing that wemust realize, the biggest organization and the most places where any of our 32:00people go is church.
HALL: And ministers, I think, must ensure taking, until they take a, a role
INGRAM: A responsive role
HALL: A responsive role, in telling the people the importance not only uh,going to heaven when we die,
HALL: but some of the things it’s worthwhile of course while we live on earth here.
HALL: And, uh, and, and as a rule, a minister can control more minds of peopleand convince more minds of people than any other man, any other one person in the community. ’Cause most people, most people that go and sit under that minister and listen to him, to him, they, ninety-five per cent of them will, will follow his
INGRAM: So overall you feel that the, that the minister leadership in thecommunity has not been responsive enough to the people.
HALL: No. Oh, oh no, only in the area, in these areas.33:00
INGRAM: In those areas.
HALL: Yeah. Particularly in the, I think some of it is even in, in the area ofthe community, yeah, there’s just community areas, and, and I think they should be told the importance, now you know, not necessary, sometimes when you sit full of politics, people don’t realize that these things rules. These things are the things, the, uh, are the things that control the whole community and I think that, that not necessary preachers will be out there telling [partisan] but I think he ought to be aware of what, who people are, what they’re, what they’re running for, how much control and how much authority they have in the community to, to set the pattern of which way is life lived, [so it’s] how much is taxes, how much other kinds of things, and different things in the community is done through the political role, and I think that they ought to be told that, and one thing that ought to be done is told look at 34:00men, follow them, and go out and vote. That’s what, that’s one of the main things. And this business telling people that, uh, your vote don’t count, it’s sad.
INGRAM: Well, [ ]? Who says that?
HALL: No, I’m speaking about, no, that’s what I hear, in the, you know, inthe public or sometimes comments, not from preachers but from the comments, but I think if these things was emphasized, every people know his vote count, regardless, go there, [in some which] he got to have a choice.
INGRAM: As a, as a, uh, black businessman, an entrepreneur today, name for me afew of the, uh, of the major successful businessmen in Ypsilanti, that have done something for the community, who are, who are the businessmen and like, uh, what would you, what kind of suggestion would you, would, would, you, uh, make for, uh, an individual to move into business on his own, and why do you see the need 35:00to [ ]
HALL: You mean, what is, what is the advantage, uh, of otherwise to encourage aman or to
INGRAM: Yeah, encourage of course. Like, do you have feelings or views aboutwhether or not Ypsilanti should have more black businessmen in Ypsilanti doing something, trying to become an entrepreneur
HALL: Yeah, but I—def—definitely so, but I think it’s I think it’sgoing to have to be more than just what we said, barbershops
INGRAM: Yeah, yeah.
HALL: or, or shoeshine parlors or
HALL: something like, like that. I think John Barfield is one of the, one ofthe outstanding men. I’ll be frank with you about it. John is one of the outstanding men that I think is, is doing something about the thing that we all should be about. And I would say one time, and I can say this because I know 36:00Johnny that well and one time he and I was contemplating on a, on a business that I own at the time and still do is a helper maid the men find a helper maid for [ ] thing that we went out different places, and sorted, customers and what have you went to Cincinnati and everyplace else, but I would say Johnny Barfield is a [kind] of a, I would say was one of the top men that has demonstrated the type interest that we as a black community got to get into so we can employ people, gives, can make employment for people
INGRAM: What are, what are, what are the, what, what other businesses do youown, or are you into other, other than the barber shop?
HALL: Well, I tell you what, I own a barber shop, [actually] a beauty shop, hasbeen my,
HALL: has been my thing,37:00
INGRAM: And you own a [root soul] too?
HALL: Yeah, I have my own building, and even when I was in Main Street andeveryplace all around, we’ve had the beauty shop right along with the barber shop as a, a the reason why the reason why you were, why you were interested yesterday, that was a beauty shop right next door, that’s my barber shop, [ ] she moved out, I moved into this smaller place,
HALL: and I rented the other part out, but, uh, barber and beauty thing hasbeen mine. Now also I own a, a construction company, and I’ve been, and I’ve been asked the question why did I get, why did [thee] go from
INGRAM: Barber shop
HALL: two businesses that have that have such a little, uh, [election I guesson] I, I tell you what, this I used to see fellows who sit around and constantly, on these, come my customers was constantly talking about, uh, these 38:00maybe asphalt particular business, and everyone who I talked to, the black was doing all of the work, but yet all of the white owned the business. Now, and I just, that’s a thing, and I got little bit different thing, that I thought about after I sold out, sold this um, um, I didn’t sell it either but I kind of deleted this hair pomade business that I had going, that I was, so I decided I’d move, move into this area, I said, maybe this is a field that I can help some of these people, give them a temporary employment, otherwise,
HALL: and uh maybe some of those people who maybe not quite, I can use itkindly as a training thing for, uh, for helping them get into the big, into the big companies.
INGRAM: What’s the name of your construction?
HALL: Universal Asphalt Company.
INGRAM: Universal Asphalt Company? Where is that located?39:00
HALL: Uh, that’s located in, I have a building in a rear of the barber shopin uh, Ypsilanti and I run an office, my office is in, in the rear of the buil—barber shop in Ann Arbor, and so, I, and, and I felt that this was one way that I could help out, or help my fellow man by giving a, adding a little more employment, in the area where these and use it more or less as a training.
INGRAM: How long have you had this business?
HALL: Ten years. Eleven, no,
INGRAM: You had this [expensive] business
HALL: Eleven years
INGRAM: construction business eleven years?
HALL: Yes, uh-huh.
HALL: And we, we’ve had people who work for me have gone on to work for, oh,big companies, now and foremans and what have you, so I kind of fulfill, if I have to say it for myself, but I have been in some supporting, and as a [using], as a kind of training, as well as the barber business, as well as, as well as the barber business,
INGRAM: Is the construction firm a very lucrative business for you?40:00
HALL: It, uh, it, it is, but I tell you what, the the biggest trouble is, isfinding a person who will take, and I can put him there as foreman and he will take these responsibilities and
INGRAM: a dependable person
HALL: a dependable person. And that is the most hardest thing in the world. IfI can find, if this kind of person is available, if these kind of people would make themselves available, and, uh, it would be very lucrative. The business, so, so, so, it’s a good business.
INGRAM: It would be very lucrative if you had an effective foreman working for you.
HALL: Correct, correct. And that it seems to be the most impossible. Everyoneis concerned about hourly, how many hours and not concerned about production. And if, and even I have gone so far as to, as to offer guys just a, a 41:00partnership, appren—a part of the business, and, and, uh, if he would, you know, make himself available and, and give his time and then because it is good, but I can’t b e both places at all times
INGRAM: Yeah, I know, you, you need a backup person
HALL: Correct. That is correct.
HALL: That is very true. And so, and, and that, that is hard, that isdependable, finding dependable people, is awful, and I, and, and, and I have counseled with different ones, offered them all kind of offers and
INGRAM: You mean you, you met with people and offered them a partnership inyour business and they, they wouldn’t
HALL: Correct, to the, to, uh, to the area of, of a contract,
HALL: we, we contract with some kind of a contract between ourselves, he would,he would become part of this business, in a length of time, if he would just, if 42:00he would only, you know, if he would make himself responsible, but, but the sacrifice is hard, I don’t want anyone to feel that they, they work so much hours, they want so much pay, they don’t want to make a sacrifice.
INGRAM: Uh, Mr. Hall, what I’ll do, I’d like to thank you for your time,and I’ll have the tape transcribed and typed out and you, you’ll be provided with a copy, where you have an opportunity to read over the document and make some deletions or some, uh, additions, depending on what you, what you feel, what should be in there rep—reflecting more you. I’d like to thank you.
HALL: All right. Thanks.
0:00 - Becoming a barber
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: INGRAM: Here this morning to interview Mr. J. D. Hall, who is an entrepreneur and independent businessman from Ypsilanti. Mr. Hall has typically been known or referred to as Mr. Bucks, originally came from the Sou—the South, Arkansas. Mr. Hall, where were you born?
HALL: I was born in Louisiana, raised in Arkansas.
INGRAM: What year?
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Hall responds to questions about his family background, including his ten brothers and sisters, and his journey to Ypsilanti. Mr. Hall then describes his route to becoming a barber and apprenticing under Ypsilanti's Sam Travis.
Keywords: African-American barbers; Alma Newt; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Ann Street; Catherine Hall Smith; Great Migration; J.D. Hall; John Easley; John Hall; Joseph Hall; Libbie Hall William; Lillie Hall; Loraine Hall Wells; Lucille Hall Prentis; Sam Travis; Santin McKenny; Tom Hall; Wes Hall; Wes Hall Jr.; Willie Jean Hall Currie; Ypsilanti, Michigan
Subjects: African American families. African American barbers.
Hyperlink: An article about J.D. Hall and Ann Arbor's Kayser Building on Fourth Avenue.
7:33 - Opening barbershops in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: INGRAM: Um, while, while an apprentice under this individual, once you completed your apprenticeship, what made you decide to strike out on your own, and open up your own barber shop?
HALL: Well, I tell you what I saw, a great need for service, this service, uh, personal service, there was no barber shop that was actually what we as we were barbers who went to barber school and we had learned all of the theory and uh, and the sanitation, requirements, and I know that to be, at the time, see, people said, well, they thought in terms of [going to] barber being a, a thing that you don’t need to go to school for, man [is to] know how to cut hair he don’t need to go to school for it, but there’s so many things that, that, uh, that was, the older barbers didn’t know at the time, the barber shop was called, at that time was called the ‘germ carriers’ almost among, some people, because
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Hall details how he came to open a barbershop in Ypsilanti in the 1940s and what the situation for Black businesses in the city. He also talks about opening a shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Keywords: African American barbers. African American business enterprises.
Subjects: African-American barbers Amos Washington Ann Arbor, Michigan Bill English Buffalo St. Dr. Albert Wheeler Dr. Perry Eugene Beatty George Moorman Harriet School Harriet Street Herbert Francois High St. J.D. Hall Jim English John Burton Marshall Books Store Michigan Avenue Hall Monroe St. Mr. Shackleford National Building, Ann Arbor Segregation in Ypsilanti State St. Washington Brothers Grocery Ypsilanti Black businesses Ypsilanti Housing Authority Ypsilanti, Michigan
Hyperlink: 1990 photo of Mr. Hall in his barbershop from the Ann Arbor News.
20:17 - Observations on Wasthenaw County race relations
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: INGRAM: After being in Ypsilanti and setting up [bill and your] business in nineteen-forty-eight, after having already been there for a while, overall, could you tell me what some of your general observations were of uh, of the black community in Ypsilanti? What did you see as some of the major problems facing the black community in Ypsilanti, during that time?
HALL: Motivation is one.
Segment Synopsis: Mr. Hall talks about race relations in Washtenaw County and how moved to the Township to be in the country and have access to both Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. Mr. Hall responds to questions about the business, church and political leaders in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor when he arrived.
Keywords: Black churches in Washtenaw County; Dr. Perry; Eugene Beatty; Garther Roberson; Great Migration; J.D. Hall; John Barfield; John Burton; Mattie Dorsey; Race relations in Ypsilanti, Michigan; Racial segregation in Washtenaw County; Reverend Carpenter; S.L. Roberson; Urban Renewal in Ypsilanti; Ypsilanti School Board; Ypsilanti south side; Ypsilanti, Michigan
Subjects: Race relations--Michigan--History. African American leadership.
Hyperlink: "Hair Force" Ann Arbor News, May 17, 1994.
36:45 - A leader in local business
Direct segment link:
Partial Transcript: INGRAM: What are, what are, what are the, what, what other businesses do you own, or are you into other, other than the barber shop?
HALL: Well, I tell you what, I own a barber shop, [actually] a beauty shop, has been my,
Segment Synopsis: J.D. Hall talks about his role as a business leader in the Black community of Washtenaw County. He describes apprenticing new barbers and why he chose to open an asphalt company.
Keywords: Ann Arbor, Michigan; Hall's barbershop; J.D. Hall; Universal Asphalt Company; Ypsilanti, Michigan, Black barbers
Subjects: African American leadership. African American business enterprises. African American barbers.