BARBERSHOPS have long been the social hub of the neighborhood. Here, men gather to swap tales, debate politics, and share memories. For Joe David Garner Jr., soaking up the stories of such men in his father's Mississippi barbershop served as a pivotal part of his childhood.
A compendium of witty, amusing, and sometimes tragic tales, Stories from My Father's Barbershop relates anecdotes from six men who regularly congregated in Garner Sr.'s barbershop. Spanning the early 1900s to the 1970s, these tales return to rural Mississippi at a time when educational, economic, and political barriers-including the Jim Crow laws-had a significant impact on these men's lives.
Colorful characters bring these stories to vivid life. There's Ward Ellis, son of two poor sharecroppers and considered by many to be a genius; gambling buddies Bender Giles and Ralph Henson, who almost lost it all; college-educated Vernon Nevins, who embarks on the road trip of a lifetime; and William Walker, who rose from poverty to become a highly successful businessman.
Through the power of storytelling, Stories from My Father's Barbershop provides a rich, multifaceted look at the American South during some of its most turbulent times.