Goodwin's Spencer Street Barbershop Owner Has Place In Civil Rights History
Photo: Video by kmtv.com
OMAHA - Goodwin's Spencer Street Barbershop isn't in books, but it's a piece of local history to members of Omaha's African American community.
Dan Goodwin's shop has been on the street for 60 years. At 81, Goodwin still works in the shop every day. He's become a cultural center for an entire cultural community.
Goodwin marched on Washington D.C. in 1963. Driven, he said, by racial tensions happening in his Omaha neighborhood during the time.
"It felt very good that day," he said about the march. "In Omaha we were fighting for fair housing and jobs. People were being arrested for sit-ins and demonstrations against places that didn't allow colored people to come in and that sort of thing."
A half-century later, it's Goodwin's work against racism at home that's guaranteed him a place in the local history books. The struggles are ones customers and employees like Jermaine Bell didn't live through, but still experience.
"I've learned my history lesson down here. So when it comes to Omaha history, I can pretty much tell it all, I've heard it all," said Bell, who has cut hair at Goodwin's for 20 years.
He was born ten years after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic speech that changed history and propelled the civil rights movement. Still, Bell knows the speech well.
"Great words," he said. "It was a great speech. Are we there yet? No. But we're working on it."
Goodwin said walking among the marchers in 1963 was a feeling like none other.
"It felt very good. I felt like we owned the day." he said, even though now, 50 years later, he'd also like to see more forward movement in the fight against racism.
"A feeling's not enough," said Goodwin. "We need genuine, sincere change. We're going backward in a lot of cases."