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Chicago barber shop that served Ali, Obama must find a new home

Chicago barber shop that served Ali, Obama must find a new home

A historic Chicago barber shop where Muhammad Ali used to get his hair cut and Senator Barack Obama still goes for weekly trims is moving after its building was sold.
The Hyde Park Hair Salon, long a gathering place for the city's black community, has been in business about 80 years, said owner Abdul Karim Shakir.
"My heart just bleeds," said Leroy Cain, the salon's former owner. "I hate to see that shop move out of that building, period."
But unlike in the movie "Barbershop" _ in which a Chicago barber shop owner fights shady developers _ the seller, the University of Chicago, has promised to help move the salon to a new location, possibly a few blocks away.
The university is selling the building for $2.3 million (euro1.75 million) to a development company, which plans to lease space to local and national stores and restaurants.
The Hyde Park neighborhood includes the university and has strong connections to the city's black leaders.
Staff and customers in the 1960s were mostly white, Cain said, but the shop began drawing more black customers after he bought it in 1965.
Chicago's first black mayor, the late Harold Washington, was also a client, Cain said.
Shakir said Obama, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, visits weekly.
"He doesn't miss unless he's out of the country," he said.
The shop will have to move before construction begins next fall.


Updated : 2021-01-17 15:43 GMT+08:00