By Sam Sherman
Teresa Long, founder of Muncie’s Grace Beauty College, and now a licensed social worker says there’s a direct connection between what’s on the head and what’s in the head.
“Behind the chair, it kind of broadens your horizons because you constantly listen to people’s problems,” Long said.
In making that connection, Long set a course that would open doors for herself and for others.
“My mom was horrible at doing hair,” Long remembered. “So, I had to actually learn to do my own. When I was [in Muncie], my auntie kept my hair done. My hair was horrible so I just started teaching myself,” said Long. After years of honing her skill, Long attended cosmetology school. While attending, she made an important observation.
“When I went to beauty school, there were no Black instructors,” said Long, “They would pull me out of class to teach things like French braiding.” Long also said there weren’t many instructional opportunities to learn about doing a Black person’s hair because the majority of the school’s clientele was white. It is what led her open the first Black-owned beauty school in East Central Indiana.
Today, Long is active on Muncie’s Black Chamber of Commerce and plays a big role in the development of Black-owned businesses. She understands what it takes.
Out of sheer will and determination, Grace Beauty College opened its doors in 2007. Long went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in social work in 2016 and a master’s degree in the same field in 2019. With these combined skill sets, she has been able to establish an even higher level of her service to her community.