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New Times - San Luis Obispo - Cover Story

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Lucy, one of Galloway's regular patrons arrives with her elderly parents who are both in their late 80s for a consultation. Lucy first met Galloway 15 years ago when she poked her head into the shop drawn to the wall of bumper stickers adorning the exterior walls of her stall. Today Lucy's father is getting a reading from Galloway.

Lucy's father was an itinerant farm worker who followed the harvests of oranges and apples throughout the Western United States, until finally settling in the Santa Maria Valley. He worked locally in the strawberry and broccoli fields for over 30 years. This work left him with a permanently hunched-over.

When asked about his religious practices, he explained with Lucy's translation help, that the nature of the harvest schedule and lack of familiarity with the local community, time for religious practices was limited. He often sought guidance from traveling curanderos Mexican spiritual and folk healers to help him with his spiritual needs and physical illnesses.

Richard Hicks leans against one of his custom cars. Richard Hicks is a vendor who runs a stall across from Galloway, which he describes as his "automobile studio. Born in in Monterey, California, Hicks worked in the canneries as a young man. But he began a professional career in the civil service then moved to mechanics.

This work led him to travel across the West and it wasn't until he got to Texas in the s that he experienced segregation for the first time. I was told to move and move I did," he pauses, "straight out of Texas and back to California.

A shiny, sleek and rare Rolls-Royce Phantom III automobile is tucked in the crowded studio -- artfully and expertly restored by Hicks. If one does not pay close attention to the shop's whereabouts, it could be easily missed.

At the time the base was segregated and black soldiers were housed off base just outside the city limits of San Luis Obispo. Many of the first Baptist churches were established during this period to serve the men and their families. Other young African Americans have been drawn to SLO County to attend Cal Poly to study engineering or architecture, where they played a prominent role during the s Civil Rights movement on campus, leading marches and establishing needed ethnic studies courses at the university.

Terry Lee Guilford, Jr.

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Opening Kut To Be the Best in the summer ofhe saw the move as an opportunity to provide a service to African Americans that previously went unmet.

He specializes in razor shaves, tapers and a variety of popular hairstyles for young boys and men. The name of the shop stems from Guilford's philosophy that not everyone is cut out to be the best, but anyone can be cut to be the best. Story continues below Pin on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Said with a sense of pride, Guilford claims to be the first black-owned barbershop in the city of San Luis Obispo, a statement that has a ring of truth to it.

Inthe San Luis Obispo chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP fought for the rights of the region's African American community, focusing on discrimination which took place in the form of "violations" in housing, real estate, and barbershops.

At the time a local union forbade its barbers from servicing African American customers thus leaving no public barbershop in the city of SLO for African Americans or a black-owned establishment to service African Americans. Tall and lanky, Guilford possesses a quiet but confident demeanor. As he cuts a young boy's hair, he begins to discuss the various role of the barbershop within the African American community while a young soon-to-be apprentice sweeps hair from the floor.

The place serves as a location where people -- men in particular -- gather, socialize and inquire about the activities in the community. Guilford also views barbering as way for young African Americans to achieve economic independence.

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Who does not like to feel good? As a young teen, Guilford wanted to cut hair and saved enough money to buy his own set of clippers.

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