For decades, the conversations that have taken place inside of Black barber shops across this country have been legendary. Whether talking about politics, religion, family, sports, school or social events, the Black barber shop has always been a comfortable setting for Black men and women to come share their thoughts and opinions, along with learning something new about the latest happenings in the community and the world.
Historically, barbershops have not only served as a significant entrepreneurial opportunity for African Americans, it has also served as a secure place to have discussion and promote Black advancement and political aspirations. The barbershop was one of the few places where African American men interacted regardless of class, education, or occupation.
Many films highlight the Black barber shop experience. Whether it was the movie, “Coming to America” with Eddie Murphy, “Malcolm X” with Denzel Washington, or “Barber Shop” with Ice Cube; barber shops have come to provide a unique social experience that is typical in the Black community.
Sam W. Woods, however, is not your typical barber. Like most barbers, Mr. Woods is a talented barber, who has served as a psychologist, counselor, community activist, mentor, coach, friend and historian for the clients who walked in the door of Parkview
Shop on Dixie Drive in Southeast Houston for the past 77 years.
That’s correct, you heard right. What makes Mr. Woods so unique, is that he is 92-years old and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
LEGACY OF AN ICON
Sam W. Woods was born on April 15, 1921, in a small town in Texas, known as Needville.
While still a young lad, Mr. Woods and his parents moved to Bay City, Texas, where his dad became the local town barber. At the age of 15, Mr. Woods went to barber school and took up the profession as a barber alongside his dad until he was drafted to go fight in World War II.
After returning home from the war, Mr. Woods married his now wife of 67 years, Mrs. Lilly Woods, and they moved to Houston, Texas. Upon moving to Houston, Mr. Woods attended Texas Southern University, then called (Texas College for Negros), and decided to major in auto mechanics. It wasn’t too long before the barbering bug, bit Mr. Woods and steered him back into the barber shop, where he has been to this day.
So for the past 77 years, Mr. Woods has provided his barber expertise to the community but has been responsible for raising, counseling and being a role model to hundreds of young Black men and women, who he has had the opportunity to meet over his 92-years.
At the age of 92, Mr. Woods is still cutting hair. Not only is Mr. Woods still cutting hair, he also has taken on the role of caregiver, having to take care of his 92-year old wife, who is presently going through the challenges of Alzheimer’s. Because Mr. Woods and his wife had no children of their own, he has had to handle his responsibility as a faithful and loving husband to his wife of 67 years.
At 92-years of age, Mr. Woods has a pretty heavy and demanding schedule, but he doesn’t let that slow him down.
At 7:00 am every morning, Mr. Woods gets out of bed and prepares breakfast for himself and his wife. He then gets dressed and helps his wife get dressed, where they go to Tom Bass Park for a walk and exercise. After their morning exercise, they return home and rest until it is time for him to go to work at the barber shop. Around noon, they have lunch and he waits for their niece to come over to sit with and care for Mrs. Woods while Mr. Woods goes to work.
Mr. Woods’ work days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from Noon-5:00 pm. At 5:00 pm, Mr. Woods closes his work station and heads home to relieve his niece and resume his duties as husband and caretaker for his wife.
Faithful to his wife of 67 years; faithful to his craft and clients as a barber for 77 years; faithful to his church of 62 years; faithful to his friends and family and most of all faithful to God throughout his entire life, Mr. Woods has always took responsibility for his commitments.
So, if you find yourself in the neighborhood or are in need of a quality haircut and conversation, stop on by Parkview Barber Shop, located at 3358 Dixie Drive, and let Mr. Woods know that you wanted to let him know that you appreciate him for serving his community for 77 years and for being a great man of honor, honesty and integrity.
Sam W. Woods, the Houston Forward Times salutes you for your faithfulness to our community and to your family.