Cedar Rapids mobilizes to boost $ 50,000 to restore Magnificence Rama and the reward store of Freda, a historic Black-

Octavia Cox types her grandmother Freda Lengthy Friday’s hair at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, her grandmother’s salon in Cedar Rapids. Lengthy, now 88, was the primary licensed practitioner within the Hall to chop and magnificence hair for the black neighborhood. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

CEDAR RAPIDS – Freda’s Magnificence Rama and Reward Store, a historic black-owned enterprise positioned inside a quaint brick constructing within the Oakhill Jackson neighborhood, was a “second house” to Edwin Montgomery, his brothers and sisters. buddies rising up.

Her mom, Freda Lengthy, owned the store at 1028 twelfth Ave. SE for many years, so it has all the time been of their lives.

Many individuals name her mom “Mama Freda” – she was all the time there to offer them a contact of fashion, supply recommendation and supply house to host church meals. The kids left Jane Boyd Neighborhood Home to cease at Freda’s store for sweet and snacks earlier than returning to the neighborhood middle to play.

“The shop was virtually at house as a result of my mom labored 24 hours a day, late into the night,” mentioned Montgomery, her eldest son. “… There’s a lifetime of recollections with that constructing and that space.”

After graduating from highschool, Lengthy, certainly one of 10 siblings, mentioned her mother and father could not afford to ship her to nursing faculty. She selected to develop into a cosmetologist as a substitute, however she was denied admission to the Paris Academy of Cedar Rapids as a consequence of her race.

“They let me know that they do not settle for blacks or that I ought to go elsewhere in Iowa to a black faculty as a result of they do not settle for blacks,” Lengthy mentioned. “I bought out of there and went house and instructed my mother, and I simply cried.”

She recovered and labored at Armstrong Division Retailer to afford to attend the Crescent Magnificence Faculty in Des Moines, one of many few magnificence colleges in Iowa that may have welcomed ladies of coloration. When she returned to Cedar Rapids, she labored at Thelma Worth’s Eighth Avenue SE magnificence store earlier than proudly owning one within the Nineteen Sixties.

Lengthy, now 88, was the primary licensed skilled in Hall in a position to minimize and magnificence hair for the black neighborhood and served Cedar Rapids for many years, beginning on Ninth Avenue SE earlier than transferring into the present twelfth Avenue SE constructing.

However inspections by the town’s development providers workers this 12 months discovered issues with falling items of the constructing’s brick facade. The town despatched Montgomery, the proprietor of the property, an exterior wall violation discover in June searching for to make the store compliant with the Cedar Rapids Housing Code following an inspection in February.

Now, the neighborhood is mobilizing to boost $ 50,000 by means of GoFundMe. Native videographer Joshua Sales space launched the fundraising effort this week and has up to now raised over $ 8,300 to assist pay for repairs and get the property again in good situation to maintain this piece of native black historical past alive.

Lengthy, who is generally retired from the store, mentioned he would not have the cash to repair it however needs to maintain it to offer to his niece, Octavia.

“I did not know that so many individuals liked me, and I really feel good figuring out that so many individuals love me and are there for me, and have executed all of this,” Lengthy mentioned of the fundraising effort.

Constructing repairs are wanted

The town will not be trying to demolish the constructing or impose fines and is often in a position to clear up most possession points by means of voluntary compliance. A violation discover requires the proprietor to deal with the situation of the wall, metropolis constructing providers workers mentioned.

It will be as much as the proprietor of the property to find out how one can mitigate the code violation. Montgomery mentioned he was working to get estimates from a masonry firm, however he predicts it might take about $ 80,000 to restore the wall.

On February 14, development providers personnel found that the brick facade was falling to the sidewalk at 1028 twelfth Ave. SE. An inspection of the constructing confirmed that the facade was leaning in opposition to the construction’s east wall, which is adjoining to the sidewalk, workers mentioned. The town has closed the sidewalk to pedestrians as a result of potential hazard.

Presently, the property doesn’t have a historic landmark designation, however neighborhood growth workers have mentioned there’s a probability it may very well be acknowledged as a neighborhood landmark. The property is acknowledged by means of the “Historical past Occurred Right here!” of the town program of historic markers with an indication throughout the road from the constructing.

If the household applies for and receives an official designation, the property can be eligible for the town’s historic rehabilitation program, which supplies as much as $ 7,500 for exterior enhancements to buildings designated as native landmarks. Exterior adjustments to those properties require a historic preservation evaluation.

“Vital determine” within the historical past of CR

Felicite Wolfe, curator and head of collections on the Cedar Rapids-based African American Museum of Iowa, mentioned Lengthy is a “vital determine” as a result of she persevered in efficiently graduating magnificence faculty in the course of the Jim Crow period.

The Crescent Magnificence Faculty was run by Pauline Humphrey, who in response to Wolfe noticed the necessity to empower different black ladies to pursue a profession in hair.

“Freda took empowerment and success to coronary heart to open her store,” mentioned Wolfe. “Freda’s Magnificence Rama has been a focus for the Oakhill Jackson neighborhood for many years, serving the realm as a enterprise and neighborhood hangout, in addition to a secure haven for neighborhood youngsters.”

Lengthy mentioned he has appreciated all of his shoppers over time, particularly these he knew as youngsters and who he watched develop up.

She performed a task in inspiring generations of beauticians who had been born behind her and began at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, instructing folks from Davenport, Waterloo and elsewhere in Iowa. Many have stayed and opened their outlets round Cedar Rapids.

Lengthy mentioned she loved the a long time she spent working in her namesake enterprise, and now she needs to see her granddaughter run the shop nonetheless she needs.

“It made me really feel good to know he mentioned he needs to be like me,” Lengthy mentioned. “This actually made me really feel good. I will need to have lived a dignified life if she needs to be like me and enjoys being within the magnificence salon every single day. … Not many youngsters say they need to be like their grandmother.

Feedback: (319) 398-8494; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

Octavia Cox washes her grandmother Freda Lengthy’s hair on Friday at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, her grandmother’s salon in Cedar Rapids. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

Octavia Cox types her grandmother Freda Lengthy Friday’s hair at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, her grandmother’s salon in Cedar Rapids. The AS social media marketing campaign is elevating cash to assist restore the historic salon constructing. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

Octavia Cox types her grandmother Freda Lengthy Friday’s hair at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, her grandmother’s salon southeast of Cedar Rapids. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

Freda Lengthy expects her hair to dry on Friday at Freda’s Magnificence Rama, her salon in Cedar Rapids. Lengthy, now 88, was the primary licensed practitioner within the Hall to chop and magnificence hair for the black neighborhood. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

Freda’s magnificence Rama is pictured Friday at Cedar Rapids. The skin sidewalk has been closed pending repairs to the constructing. (Nick Rohlman / La Gazzetta)

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