Rose Morgan was born in Edward, Mississippi in 1912 but was raised in Chicago. From an adolescent age, she possessed the spirit of an entrepreneur. At 10 years old, Morgan began making artificial flowers and convincing neighborhood kids to sell them door-to-door for her. After attending Morris College of Beauty, Morgan rented a booth and began working full-time.
In 1938, she styled the hair of singer/actress Ethel Waters and impressed her so much she was invited to New York City as Water’s guest. After realizing how much she enjoyed being in New York, Morgan decided to move there. Within 6 months she had accumulated enough clientele to open her own beauty shop. Soon after, she was able to hire five stylists and sign a ten-year lease on a dilapidated mansion.
By 1946, the Rose Meta House of Beauty had a staff of 29 people, including 20 hairstylists, three licensed masseurs, and a registered nurse. Morgan opposed the notion of beauty, which suggested that kinky hair was bad, believing there was beauty in everyone. She began marketing her own brand of cosmetics, even creating her own fashion shows. After experiencing great success, she decided to take it to the next level.
In 1955, after purchasing a new building she reopened her shop changing the name to Rose Morgan’s House of Beauty. The new building was more stylish, equipped with a dressmaking department and a charm school in addition to the salon facilities. Over time she employed and trained over 3,000 people. In 1965, Morgan was also one of the founders of New York’s only black-owned commercial bank, the freedom national bank. She finally retired in the late ’70s.