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Listen: The Reverberations of Gun Violence In Baltimore

Antoine Dow has been cutting hair for 24 years. He started at age 19 giving haircuts to friends in his father’s basement. (Nate Palmer for KHN)
Chaseedaw Giles discussed her story about the West Baltimore barber who cares for his clients in life and death on Baltimore’s news radio station, WBAL, on March 20.

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When a good friend in Baltimore said he was offering a final haircut to a client who had been killed by gun violence, Chaseedaw Giles knew she had to write the story. Her article appeared in The New York Times, and Giles, the social media manager for KHN, later spoke with WBAL News Radio.

“There was no one in the barbershop who hadn’t either been shot themselves, including the barber who had been shot before, or known someone that had been shot. And it was just kind of this sense of acceptance that, you know, this is what life is like in West Baltimore,” Giles told WBAL radio host Bryan Nehman.

When barber Antoine Dow went to the funeral home to give a final haircut to one client, the trauma to the young man’s skull was so severe Dow didn’t recognize him.

“He didn’t look like himself. I had to ask was this the right person, and they said, ‘Yes, this is the right person,’” Dow said. “There wasn’t much I could do. So I did the best I could.”

Dow is committed to running his business as a safe space for the neighborhood.

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