Poro Beauty Parlor

The Poro Beauty Parlor was located at 193 Bluff Street in Akron. It was one of many Poro locations, all stemming from the Poro College in St. Louis. The owner was Miss M.C. Bolar, who may have been Mary C. Bolar. Mary Bolar was born in Alabama, graduated from Spellman in Atlanta and moved to Akron around 1920 or 1921. She worked as a clerk for the Summit County Treasurer, was president of the Young Ladies Progressive Club, and a teacher for the Second Baptist Church Sunday school. In 1923, she married noted civil rights attorney Samuel T. Kelly, Sr., becoming Mary C. Kelly. It is not clear if she is related to Arthur Bolar, who edited the early versions of the The Akron Informer, a Black newspaper. For a short time, she ran her beauty parlor from the Upperman House, a notable location for Black life in Akron operated by Mary Upperman. Other African Americans also operated small businesses from there. As a woman, Bolar was unusual as resident and business owner, as most residents at Upperman House were male.


  • Advertisement, New Era Launderers. Akron Beacon Journal. June 4, 1923.
  • Akron Negro Directory, 1922, 1927.
  • “Annie Malone and Madam C.J. Walker: Pioneers of the African American Beauty Industry.” National Museum of African American History and Culture, October 1, 2019. nmaahc.si.edu/explore/stories/annie-malone-and-madam-cj-walker-pioneers-african-american-beauty-industry
  • McClain, Shirla. “The Contributions of Blacks in Akron, 1825 – 1975.” Ph.D. diss., University of Akron, 1975.
  • “Names Girl Bill Clerk.” Akron Beacon Journal. June 8, 1922.
  • “Seven Families Routed by Fire.” Akron Beacon Journal. March 20, 1940.
193 Bluff St, Akron, OH

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