“From the 1940s to the 1960s, restaurants in the South became high-profile focal points for the Civil Rights Movement because activists understood the powerful effect that desegregating White-owned eateries would have on the public's imagination,” writes author Adrian Miller, also known as the @soulfoodscholar
. “After all, restaurants are places where people from different walks of life gather for nourishment, social interaction, and an opportunity to belong to a community. These things go to the heart of what it means to be American.”
"African American eateries throughout the South gave life to the Civil Rights Movement in ways both seen and unseen. Black culinary entrepreneurs realized the beauty of a simple truth: People power movements, and food powers people. During the Jim Crow era, Black restaurants were part heaven and part haven—places where African Americans could get a taste of the good life as well as the basic rights denied them at White establishments. Black-owned restaurants exemplified what it meant to be a community resource by feeding civil rights workers (often for free), offering a safe space for organizers and strategists to meet, and providing additional support.”
At the link in our profile, Miller shares about five establishments that were pivotal in the South and can still be visited today.
📷: Courtesy The Historic New Orleans Collection/Christopher Porché West; 📍: @dookychaserestaurant