Teaching The Quarry in Context

Chapter V

“He mentioned the proprietor, and was told that he was engaged, but would be at liberty in about five minutes…The barbers, including the proprietor, were all colored, and on account of little Donald, he felt nearer to them than, as a white man, he had ever felt before to their people.

When his shoes had been polished, the head barber was at liberty.

"Mistuh Davis kin take keer uh you now, Judge,’ said the bootblack, applying to his customer a title adequate to the size of the tip” (p.27).

Mr. Davis is based on George A. Myers, owner of Cleveland’s Hollenden Hotel’s barbershop, who is often described as a “one-man clearinghouse” between the African American citizens of Cleveland and the Republican Party.

“`I shaved President McKinley when he was governor and since and Senator Hanna is my very good friend and corresponds with me about colored men who are seeking office. Do you see that card on the wall?  That was given to me by the famous Elbert Hubbard who always stops at this hotel and comes in here to be shaved.’

`Does he ever get a hair cut?’ asked Seaton.

`Not here, laughed the barber,’ in appreciation of the joke. `I suppose he gets it cut once or twice a year, but he’s never had it done here.’

Seaton glanced at the handsomely framed oblong of cardboard, painted in fancy letters in alternating red and black, and reading `The best barbershop in the United States’, followed by the well-known signature of the genial Fra Elbertus.

`I’ve got all his books, continued the barber. He sent me an autographed copy of The Message to Garcia,  which is hanging in my library, along with signed photographs of President McKinley and Senator Hanna’” (p. 29)

Did you know Ohio has produced eight U.S. Presidents?

To learn more, try this fun activity: Ohio Presidents Game


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Charles Chesnutt in the Classroom by Adrienne Johnson Gosselin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.