“The barbershop is sacred for Black men, says George Favors, 42, from behind his chair at Brown’s Barbershop. “We can talk about anything and everything. Everyone is equal once you step in.”
It’s no surprise that all anyone wants to talk about at Browns, which Favors co-owns, is the possibility that a man who looks like them could soon be the president.  “It’s been a topic of discussion for the last year,” says Favors.  “It’s pretty amazing to see this in my lifetime.”  The Athens, Georgia, barbershop, which has been in business for more than 60 years, has been adorned with Obama posters since the primaries. 

As Favors runs clippers over a customer’s hair, he keeps his straight talk flowing: “To get out the cotton field and become the most powerful man in the world…” Favors says, trailing off for a moment. “I just never thought I would see a Black man as president.”

At Wilsons Styling Shop, a few doors down from Brown’s, the election is also the number one topic of discussion. “Obama is a common guy; he did not grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth,” says Bernard Anderson, 40, who works at Wilsons. “If he wins, there will be a lot of healing for this country. I think the world will be a better place. He will make people feel better about this country; maybe he can bring the values back.”

Still, the idea that America might not be ready for a Black president is something the men also consider. 

“If they are not ready now, they have the next 24 hours to get ready,” says Favors, as customers nod quietly in agreement.