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Salesman Broke a Downtown Color Barrier

this story appeared in the Greensboro News & Record Feb. 10th, 2010. By Kent Tager.
I have a story to tell and, with the opening of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum on Feb. 1, now is a good time to tell it. My parents, Henry and Peggy Tager, opened The Hub Ltd. men’s clothing store on the corner of Elm and Market streets in 1962. If you look at the building facing Elm Street, you can see the faded outline of The Hub Ltd. name still on the building. Among the staff at the new location were two young tailors, Jesse Byrd and Charles W. Falls. Business was better than expected and, after a couple of months, my father realized the store was going to need another salesman. My father decided Mr. Falls would be that salesperson. The only thing was, Mr. Falls was a black man and he was concerned that the white customers would not like it. My father basically said they would deal with it and to get out there and sell lots of clothes (Charles became legendary as an incredible salesman). Not long after this, black leaders in Greensboro got together to discuss which downtown businesses would be boycotted. As the list was being read, they came to The Hub Ltd. as one of the stores to be boycotted. Charles stood and told them that the store had black employees, including him, who may very well have been the very first black salesperson in a white-owned store in downtown Greensboro. So, as in the Jewish holiday of Passover, The Hub was passed over during the boycott. Now I was only about 9 or 10 when all this took place, so I do not recall any of this and my father never said much about his role during these historic times. The reason I know this story and can relate it is because Charles loved to tell us about it and about how my father was willing to do the right thing. My father passed away in 1997, Charles in 2004, having worked with our company until 2003, or for about 40 years. These are two men who had small but important roles in a historic time and I am proud to tell their story.