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Leigh Jones

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Information about Leigh Jones

Profile image of Leigh Jones

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Hairstylist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Fried Food
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Toronto, Canada, Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
They're All Wonderful 'Til They're Yours.

Birthplace

Born:
12/22/1944
Birth Location:
Kansas City, Kansas

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Hairstylist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Red
Favorite Food:
Fried Food
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Toronto, Canada, Paris, France
Favorite Quote:
They're All Wonderful 'Til They're Yours.

Birthplace

Born:
12/22/1944
Birth Location:
Kansas City
See how Leigh Jones is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Hairstylist and salon owner Leigh Jones was born December 22, 1944, in Kansas City, Kansas. When Jones was four years old, his father died, and his mother moved the family to Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, Jones attended Frank L. Gillespie Technology and Magnet Cluster, Park Manor Elementary School, Saint Columbanus School, and Charles S. Deneen Elementary School. His uncle owned Jimmy’s Restaurant on 63rd Street, where Jones enjoyed listening to the older people tell stories. He graduated from Westcott Vocational High School (now Simeon Vocational) in 1960. Jones attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, Roosevelt University and Loop College before enrolling in the American School of Beauty Culture in 1962. He was one of the first black students to attend the school, and was influenced by Bernice Van Dessell. Jones graduated from the American School of Beauty Culture and was licensed in 1964. He also attended Revlon Color Institute, the L’Oreal Institute, Pivot Point International, Clairol Color Academy, and the Southern Illinois School of Continuing Education.

In 1963, Jones became the first African American to work for Jean Luc Vercammen; he began working at Carrie’s Chateau and at Frederick Glasser’s Cheers and Shears Salon in 1964. During his career, he worked with Darrell Whitten, Inc., Maximo Salon and Jean Pierre Salon before opening his own salon in 1983. During this period, he was also the stylist for A. M. Chicago host, Oprah Winfrey. Jones became the hairstylist of choice for many well known clients including Lainie Kazan, Lena Horne, Eunice Johnson, Dori Wilson, Heather Bilandic, Beverly Crown, Diahann Carroll, Natalie Cole, Marlo Thomas, Barbara Eden, Billy Dee Williams, Debra Norville, Phyllis Newman, and Essie Kupcinet. He is known for treating all of his clients with the same high standard of courtesy.

Jones has been a commercial hairstylist for Johnson Products, Alberto-Culver, Helene Curtis, Revlon and Clairol, as well as for television specials and Broadway shows. He is the chair and judge of the Gold Trophy and Silver Shopping Competition for the Midwest Beauty Show; he is also a board member of the Chicago Cosmetologist Association, Mid-American Art Association, Bike and Hike for Multiple Sclerosis, and the 10th Annual Chicago House Benefit for AIDS. Living near many of his clients in Chicago’s Gold Coast, Jones enjoys the positive feedback he gets from his work and watching football.
Leigh Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 15, 2004.

See how Leigh Jones is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leigh Jones' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones describes his mother's family background and her battle with breast cancer
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones describes his mother's migration from West Memphis, Arkansas to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones talks about his mother's second marriage and his worries about having a half-sibling
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones recalls living with an aunt and uncle upon his family's move to Chicago, Illinois in 1949
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls places he lived in Chicago, Illinois upon moving there in 1949
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about his uncle's restaurant on Chicago's South Side and the 63rd Street business district
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones talks about being young for his grade level and remembers an artistic aunt who mentored him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones talks about his love of football
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls getting into fights as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones recalls his summers in Kansas City, Kansas and his family's values
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about his brother and his fear of his brother's enlistment in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones recalls his childhood in the church, attending Westcott Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois, and Emmett Till's murder
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones recalls his fear of doing white women's hair in private booths
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls the impact of seeing Emmett Till's body in Jet magazine
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about the grade schools he attended and how the Dan Ryan Expressway solidified racial divisions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones recalls his childhood family dinners
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Leigh Jones recalls being discouraged from writing with his left hand and transferring schools because of a racist teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones recalls his how his high school vocational training was useful and talks about a surprise party that was thrown for him
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones remembers his love for music and his church life
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls his father's death and how it affected his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones shares why he almost did not graduate from Westcott Vocational High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones lists the colleges he attended
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones describes attending and leaving the School of the Art Institute and beginning to consider a career in hairdressing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about hairdressers in his family and attending American School of Beauty Culture in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recalls a teacher who tried to deny him opportunities due to his race
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones recalls surviving a car accident
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones describes working at the post office during college
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones describes how he got his start as a hairdresser with Fred Glaser
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones talks about getting an opportunity to work with Fred Glaser
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones talks about the clientele at Fred Glaser's salon and changing his own look to attract customers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones recalls his first interaction with a customer who helped him build his business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones recalls strangers' reactions to seeing him shop and dine with his client, Meg Folk
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones recalls situations in which he and others he knew were conspicuous because they were black or appeared to be black
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about the lack of black people on the Gold Coast
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones recounts being harassed by the Chicago police, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones recounts being harassed by the Chicago police, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones recalls being harassed by police while shopping on Chicago's Near North Side
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones recalls doing Oprah Winfrey's hair when she worked for AM Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones explains why he stopped being Oprah's hair stylist
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones talks about how long it takes to do hair and opening up the industry for other black stylists to work beyond black communities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones talks about changes in hairstyling and the difference between hair cutters, hair stylists, and hairdressers
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones illustrates the relationships between stylists and between stylists and their clients in a French hair salon
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the relationship between clients and stylists
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones reflects on how hairdressing has taught him the importance of interpersonal relationships
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones talks about the increased use of blow dryers in the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones talks about doing hair for HistoryMaker Linda Johnson Rice and where he and other hairdressers gather inspiration
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones talks about the politics of hair and trends in hair statements
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones explains why he does not tell his clients' stories and remembers being stuck in an elevator as Lainie Kazan tried to help him
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones recalls instances where he has kept calm as another hairdresser yelled at him
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Leigh Jones recalls an anecdote about Lainie Kazan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the most rewarding part of his job
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Leigh Jones talks about dressing according to the occasion
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Leigh Jones shares a story about a client who passed away
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Leigh Jones talks about the African American hair care industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Leigh Jones describes his hopes for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Leigh Jones reflects upon the future of black Americans as part of the broader American culture
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Leigh Jones reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Leigh Jones describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Leigh Jones narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Leigh Jones narrates his photographs, pt. 2