The heart of Shake Rag

BOWLING GREEN Ky.- Bowling Green holds a very special history to the African American community. In the year 2000, Shake Rag was placed on the national register district of historic places. It was a thriving area for the African American community. Shake Rag provided an escape for the pressures of living in a segregated community.

A barber shop in the area, Shake Rag barber shop, is a place where people of all races gather. Not only is it a place where hair gets cut, but it also stands as a reminder of the thriving community. Center Baptist Church reverend Chris Page is one of the barbers here and is the founder of the barbershop. He started the business with his fellow barber, Chris Whitney.

“Me and Chris Page have been partners in another barber shop, and when we dissolved that barber shop, I cam over here with Chris Page,” Whitney said.

This special barbershop serves as a melting pot for the entire community. The efforts of Chris Page are noticed by many, and through the art of cutting hair, the shake rag community will start to see it’s former luster. Executive Director of the Human Rights Commission Alice Waddell has also noticed the efforts of Page.

“Chris has designed a barber shop that is accessible to the community, not only with the service of cutting hair, but a gathering place. He has allowed the community to come in and he has facilitated atmosphere for conversation on current issues that we’re dealing with now. He’s bringing back the heart of Shake Rag,” Wadell said.

The history of the Shake Rag Community is also on display at the African American museum. project manager Wathetta Buford also talks about page’s contributions

“I’m proud of Chris. I think it’s wonderful. He’s doing what we needed somebody to do. We needed somebody to come in and start a business. That’s part of revitalizing the Shake Rag area,” Buford said.

The birth of the barber shop is all thanks to Page and he tells the story of how it came to light.

“I discovered it because I live in the Shake Rag historic district, and the people who owned it which was the housing authority of Bowling Green, was able to give me the information on purchasing it. My father always told me, they don’t make more land, so if you have the opportunity to buy something, especially historical land. So in essence, I was coming back home,” Page said.