Palm Beach County

African American Oral History Project

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Mary J. Lopez was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1928 and is one of five siblings. She has lived in Palm Beach County her entire life. Ms. Lopez worked at a dress store in downtown West Palm Beach called Anthony’s. She obtained her beauty license from Roosevelt Highschool and opened up her beauty salon on Sapodilla, between 9th and 10th street. Ms. Lopez witnessed the prosperity of black-owned businesses in West Palm Beach. She also saw how these businesses started to close down over time as the city tried to commercialize the area. Ms. Lopez was a frequent visitor of the Sunset Lounge in the Historic Northwest community. She participated in neighborhood events, such as beauty contests.