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Charlene Jordan

Charlene Jordan, proprietor of Charlene's House of Beauty, operates one of the oldest African American-owned businesses in Denver, Colorado's Five Points district. She was born on July 2, 1924 in the country near Nashville, Arkansas. Life was hard for young Charlene and her family. Her father, Miles Jordan, lost the family land to unscrupulous white officials while her mother, Curlie Hill Jordan, struggled to make ends meet. Jordan had to work long hours in hot cotton fields for ten cents an hour. Her nephew was attacked by a mob and disappeared within earshot of her house.

After graduating from high school in 1943, Jordan joined Roosevelt's National Youth Administration and left Arkansas. Recruited to work for Boeing Aircraft Company in Seattle, Washington with other youth, Jordan also served as a "tank scaler" in Vancouver, British Columbia. She returned to Arkansas in 1948 and attended the Velvatex College of Cosmetology in Little Rock. She then moved to Denver, Colorado. Jordan took a refresher course at Duncan Beauty School, enhancing her hot comb pressing technique before opening her own "House of Beauty." She joined the Colorado Hair Dressers and Cosmetologists Association and the Success Club of America, becoming a member of the Incomparable 75. Later she purchased storefronts on Welton Street, now better known as "Jordan's Corner."

Denver's rich and poor alike have sought Jordan's services, including some of the top entertainers and celebrities that appeared at the Rassonian Hotel and other historic Five Point venues. Over the years, Charlene Jordan has become a pillar and anchor of Five Points. Of her many accomplishments, she is most proud of her daughter.

Accession Number

A2002.115

Sex

Female

Interview Date

6/21/2002

Last Name

Jordan

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widowed

First Name

Charlene

Birth City, State, Country

Nashville

HM ID

JOR01

Favorite Season

None

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Atlanta, Georgia

Favorite Quote

If You Give A Person A Fish, He Can Eat For A Day, But If You Teach A Person To Fish, He Can Eat Forever.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Colorado

Birth Date

7/2/1924

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Denver

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Cornbread, Greens

Short Description

Salon owner and hairdresser Charlene Jordan (1924 - ) was the founder of Charlene's House of Beauty, the oldest continuous business in Denver's Five Points neighborhood.

Employment

Charlene's House of Beauty

Boeing Company

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:2819,51:4502,79:43250,567:67816,847:91558,1156:96682,1254:97102,1260:139395,1740:140975,1782:146730,1810$0,0:32250,421:47350,595
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Charlene Jordan narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charlene Jordan narrates her photographs, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Slating of Charlene Jordan's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charlene Jordan lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charlene Jordan describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charlene Jordan describes why her mother married her father

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charlene Jordan describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charlene Jordan describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charlene Jordan describes when her family lost their farm

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charlene Jordan talks about working for the National Youth Administration and attending cosmetology school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charlene Jordan talks about her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charlene Jordan talks about her grandmother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charlene Jordan describes her experiences attending Childress High School, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charlene Jordan talks about her childhood interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charlene Jordan describes her experiences attending Childress High School, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charlene Jordan shares memories of her childhood church

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charlene Jordan describes why she was determined to move away from Nashville, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charlene Jordan describes race relations in Nashville, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charlene Jordan describes the challenges of becoming a cosmetologist in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Charlene Jordan talks about entertainment and Denver, Colorado's Five Points neighborhood in the 1940s

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Charlene talks about some of her famous male clients

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Charlene talks about Dinah Washington in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Charlene talks about opening Charlene's House of Beauty

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Charlene Jordan talks about Madame C.J. Walker and A'Lelia Walker

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Charlene Jordan talks about her connection to businesswoman Marjorie Stewart Joyner

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Charlene Jordan talks about the Five Points Black Business Association fashion show

Tape: 2 Story: 17 - Charlene Jordan talks about businesses in the Five Points Black Business Association

Tape: 2 Story: 18 - Charlene Jordan talks about goal-setting

Tape: 2 Story: 19 - Charlene Jordan describes her hairstyling techniques and customer service philosophy

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charlene Jordan describes how her success has allowed her to purchase what she wants

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charlene Jordan describes the process of styling hair

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charlene Jordan talks about beauty shop gossip

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charlene Jordan talks about helping others and being helped

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charlene Jordan talks about styling mishaps

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charlene Jordan describes her involvement with the Colorado Hair Dressers and Cosmetologists Association

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charlene Jordan talks about Rose Morgan

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charlene Jordan talks about being a successful businesswoman

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charlene Jordan describes how hairstyles have evolved since the 1940s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charlene Jordan compares styling of white and black hair

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Charlene Jordan talks about styling wigs

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Charlene Jordan comments on what makes hair healthy

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Charlene Jordan describes how Denver, Colorado has changed

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Charlene Jordan describes how the changes in Denver, Colorado have affected the black community

Tape: 3 Story: 15 - Charlene Jordan talks about the Juneteenth celebration in Denver, Colorado's Five Points neighborhood

Tape: 3 Story: 16 - Charlene Jordan describes how the Five Points Business Association was divided

Tape: 3 Story: 17 - Charlene Jordan shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 3 Story: 18 - Charlene Jordan shares advice for aspiring cosmetologists and business owners

Tape: 3 Story: 19 - Charlene Jordan shares her favorite sayings

Tape: 3 Story: 20 - Charlene Jordan talks about helping others

Tape: 3 Story: 21 - Charlene Jordan talks about her family and how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$2

DAStory

9$12

DATitle
Charlene Jordan describes when her family lost their farm
Charlene talks about Dinah Washington Denver, Colorado
Transcript
So, did you have to work on a farm when you were a little girl?$$Yes, I had to work on the farm and at the time we was born pretty wealthy, but my mother's baby sister and my father's baby sister had a fight and my father's baby sister came out to help her mother fight and they had a little girl and she came out to help her mother fight, so she got cut up in the fight. So, after she got cut up in the fight, then they gonna send my daddy's baby sister to prison for cutting up this little girl. So, my daddy [Miles Hill] had to mortgage everything thing we had, this beautiful home and land and we had cattle and everything. Mortgaged it and they mortgaged it $1,000 and they had to pay $100 a month, and a $1,000 was a lot of money back in those days, so he mortgaged it to keep his sister from going to prison and they let us pay back all that money, let us pay it back $100 a month 'till the last two payments and then they would not accept the last two payments and they came out and took everything that we had. I can hear my daddy bending over crying right now when he, they would take our cows out and the cultivators and everything. He was like crying, but he was grown. He was bent over. I was a little bitty girl, but I can him and I could hear him crying right now and that's why we got to--back down real poor again.$$That's pretty sad, that's sad, yeah.$$Yeah, that's--(unclear)--$$So, so he lost everything?$$We lost everything and our money too.$$Now, did the sister stay out of jail?$$Yeah, she stayed out, they kept her out of jail.$$Do, do you know what the fight was about?$$I heard it was about one of those men down there, but at my age you didn't ask too many questions when you was a little kid about stuff like that, but you couldn't help but hear what the people were saying.$Who else--were, were there any--were any of the women clients of yours?$$I don't remember doing the women. I remember the women being in Denver. I remember Dinah Washington came here, and she got in a quarrel with a man and this man put all of her shoes and all of clothes in a bathtub and put boiling hot water on 'em and her shoes look like little doll shoes when they took them out of that boiling hot water. And I remember Leo Green, singing about Release Me And Let Me Go. I remember Etta James, I think Etta James is coming, she's coming to Denver real soon, if she's not already here.