Washington, Sarah Spencer
- Kahlil Gross
entrepreneur, was born in Berkley, Virginia, to Joshua Phillips and Ellen Douglass. At a time when Jim Crow was being established throughout the South and education for African Americans in the public school systems was made separate and clearly unequal, stemming from the Supreme Court's ruling on Plessey v. Ferguson in 1896, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips made sure that their daughter received the best education afforded to her. Sarah attended public schools in Berkley, and then went on to attend Lincoln Preparatory School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Norfolk Mission College for Negroes in Norfolk, Virginia. At some point, she went on to do advance work in chemistry at Columbia University.
Around the age of sixteen, Sarah became a dressmaker. Her parents encouraged her to become a school teacher, however, in 1913 at age twenty four Sarah decided to pursue an entrepreneurial path opening a small hair dressing ...
A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.