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Fortitude

Genevieve Barbee-Turner

fortitude

Virginia Vashon was born the daughter of the first black barber in Pittsburgh. After she married Jacob Proctor, a profitable barber in Downtown Pittsburgh, she built a successful hair supply business above his shop, Virginia Proctor's Hair Shop serving both white men and women. Eventually she was able to expand to other locations in the city, one of many installments in the long history of African-American entrepreneurship in this region. Keep in mind at this time, Whites didn't trust black teachers in public schools but would spend significant amount of money at Mrs. Proctor's shop to maintain a stylish physical appearance. 

This is a legacy that remains today. Born from an inability to be hired alongside their white professional counterparts, black men and women struck out on their own and built everything from restaurants, clothing lines, galleries, and much more. 

My version of Virginia (I couldn't find any photographic images of her) presides over historic storefronts with the tamed white lion (as found in the Rider Waite). She is one of so many women I have read about who lived amazing lives here in Pittsburgh. My next endeavor will include more research of women across history in Allegheny County, including a niece of Proctor's who lived quite the amazing life herself.

 

Further Reading

Juliet E. K. Walker, The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, and Entrepreneurship (Second Edition, Volume 1, to 1865) pg. 183

Positive aspects of this card: Strength, longevity, striking a balance between your will and what is possible, finding compassion
Negative aspects: Self-centered fear, doubt

 

 


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