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The Afro exhibit opens at the County Museum

Exhibit traces from the afro comb to the Crown Act

San Bernardino County Museum is pleased to present “The Afro, a historical view: From the Afro Comb to the Crown Act.” The show opens Thursday, Jan. 30 and runs through March1, 2020. A museum member reception takes place on Thursday, Feb. 6, 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.

Curated by Leah Goodwin, the exhibit tells the story of Dr. Willie L. Morrow, barber, creator of the Afro Pick comb, and author of 400 years Without a Comb. The exhibit includes artifacts that document the story of this beauty phenomenon, and features artworks by renowned African American artists Ernie Barnes and Albert Fennel.

Morrow, born in Tuscaloosa, AL in 1940, became a barber at age twelve. He relocated to San Diego, opened his own barber shop, and quickly began inventing tools, formulating products, developing techniques, writing, and teaching. At just 22 years old, Morrow carved his first Afro Pick comb out of wooden dowels. Shortly thereafter, he produced a plastic injection version of the Afro Pick comb, the first commercially produced in the United States, which became a household item and recognized political icon the world over. Several years later, the United States military contracted Morrow to train barbers and beauticians in the U.S., Europe, and Asia on the intricacies of cutting and styling Afro-textured hair.

Morrow’s collection is comprised of tools that he designed, was inspired by, and used in his barber shop; products and books that he collected in order to improve his own formulations; illustrations, paintings, and photographs he commissioned for the books and pamphlets on hair care and history that he wrote and published; and other related artifacts.

Guest Curator Leah Goodwin is a prolific curator, serving in many arts organizations including the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland, VSA Arts of California, Aesthetics, Inc., and Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego. Most recently, she has served as Director of Museum and Education for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, where she presented 17 exhibitions over four years.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The exhibit and the exhibit opening reception are included with general admission. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.sbcounty.gov/museum. The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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