Dear Subscribing Institutions, Friends and Supporters:

Greetings! Here at The HistoryMakers , 2017 has been a busy year, full of excitement and growth. This past summer, our team was honored to travel to Martha’s Vineyard in August for our event The HistoryMakers on Martha’s Vineyard: Our History is Our Future , which we held in collaboration with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, and sponsor Toyota Motor Sales. The program was focused on the importance of preserving personal collections, and identifying appropriate institutional repositories to hold them. On the program that evening were representatives from New York Public Library (Michele Coleman Mayes), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, emeritus), Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center (Vita Paladino), Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library (Marilyn Dunn), Emory University’s Rose Library (Pellom McDaniels, III), and Simmons College (Dr. Elizabeth Rawlins, emerita), in addition to Dr. Carolyn L. Yancey, who oversaw the preservation of her father’s papers.

As today, we relaunch The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Newslette r, we want to welcome our most recent subscribing institutions: American University, Dominican University, Lesley University and Simmons College. We want to create a true community. 

While contemporary foodway scholars often write of the elements of resistance and reclamation that are undercurrent to Southern cuisine for African Americans, there is also an element of exuberance, celebration and preservation. Culinary historian and HistoryMaker Jessica B. Harris best underlines the centrality of African American foodways to cultural identity, from The HistoryMakers Digital Archive: “Our heaven is a bounteous heaven filled with food and, you know, overflowing plates. It’s--our nexus for communion; it’s where we meet. It’s where we solve our problems. It’s where we solve our difficulties, and I think that extends even beyond African Americans; certainly for us, that’s it. I mean, if you can get five folks to sit around the kitchen table, you can probably solve their problem” [ Jessica B. Harris, THMDA 1.7.4]. 1

Potlikker, ash cake, sweet potato pie, okra, peanuts and pork : food born out of the African diaspora, shaped through our enslaved ancestors’ southern milieu, and molded into the African American foodways that are cherished and studied today. Food ritual is something that brings a fractious family together, black or white, whether for the holidays or for a Sunday dinner. For this week’s topic, we explore the elements of community and identity that surround the ritualistic roasting of a hog.
Born in 1942, HistoryMaker Edith Ingram, who presided as a probate judge in Hancock County, Georgia for thirty-six years, talks about the community aspect of the slaying of a hog in her home town of Sparta: “When they killed hogs, everybody met at the house where the hog was being killed, and dressed the hog and cut it out, then everybody got fresh meat… All the neighbors would come and they’d have these fires going around the wash pot. And then they’d have the hog hung up. But at first, they’d cut his neck. And then they’d take the hair off with the hot water out of the wash pot. Then they would spin him over and hang him up. Then they’d let him drain, and then they’d start… cutting him up. And of course, the meat they didn’t give away they had to put salt on it. And we had a place we called the smokehouse. It’s where they kept the meat until they cured" [ The Honorable Edith Ingram, THMDA 1.2.6]. 2
  From the introduction to her 2015 Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family , award-winning lyricist, novelist, screenplay writer and Vanderbilt University professor HistoryMaker Alice Randall states that through food, “We’re talking about connecting with our mothers’ mothers through taste. We’re talking about celebrating all we created and all we endured by holding close to some of the flavors that were with us when we were creating and enduring.” 3 Similarly, Ingram also references her shared ritual with her paternal grandmother, Lillian Ingram, whom she called Ma White: “She used to send us out to the smokehouse, and the hams were hanging from the ceiling… She used to eat it raw. And we’d eat it raw too, but we’d go out there and cut her a piece of ham out of the meat that was hanging from the rafters. One story that was kind of amazing was that the green mold part that would sometimes be on that meat that was in the smokehouse where these hams were being cured--they said that the older people would just cut the green off and just eat the rest of the ham and never got sick” [The Honorable Edith Ingram, THMDA 1.2.6]   .
Born in Long Island, New York in 1944, HistoryMaker Barbara Heineback, who later served as the first black woman press officer under First Lady Rosalynn Carter, remembers travelling with her immediate family south to her paternal grandparents’ farm in Leesburg, Georgia for the holidays: “The men would go to the woods and they would roast a roast suckling pig, sometimes two. And they would do this in the ground and they would dig this big ditch. They’d put hot coals that they would bake outside in an oven until the coals were red hot. Then they would wrap the pig in all these, I think it was corn leaves and all and leave it in the ground overnight. The wives would prepare the interior of the pig, give it to the men, they’d drive off to the woods and they’d put this thing in the ground about five, four or five, six p.m. in the evening. And one or two men would hold watch over the pig and it was like, okay you’ve got the first watch, second watch, third watch--like you do on a ship--and the pig would be finished cooking sometime nine, ten, eleven o’clock the next morning. And that would be part of the Thanksgiving dinner. And actually, I guess it wasn’t really ready until closer to eleven or noon, because when the pig came out of the ground, everybody’s starving and ready to go” [Barbara Heineback, THMDA 1.1.7]. 4
In What the Slaves Ate: Recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from the Slave Narratives, authors Herbert C. Covey and Dwight Eisnach note:  “The use of fire pits and the practice of roasting or heating foods in ashes were traditional African methods to cook food. Consistent with their African and Caribbean heritages, slaves also cooked in fire pits and ashes. This method would be passed down from generation to generation in the Antebellum South," and that "During the Antebellum period, pork was the most important meat on all southern tables. Archaeological evidence indicates that pork was the most common meat eaten by slaves” 5 This method of “Africanizing the Southern palate,” 6 as HistoryMaker Jessica B. Harris put it, by introducing West African seasoning and cooking methods through North American bounty of pork, both forever imprinted the mark of slavery on Southern cuisine, while deeply embedding the cohesion of food and ancestry for many African Americans.
Raised in New York, poet, spoken word artist and HistoryMaker Abiodun Oyewole recalls how Daddy Joe, his maternal uncle Joseph Davis, who was born and raised in Georgia, brought the tradition of barbecuing pork to their family gatherings in Queens. “If you came to any section in Queens, you could follow your nose, you’d be at my house and my father would actually go down and get a pig. I would have to take care of, and then we’d kill it, scald it, scrape it, split it, barbecue it, yeah. I mean I was raised like a, a farmer. Like a country kid. And, and so we had…these fabulous, fabulous gatherings, potato salad, collard greens and cornbread and barbecue chicken, barbecue ribs and we had, we have made a … horseshoe barbecue pit… like this high off the floor at least…and you could put two pigs on that bad boy. I mean it was like that Daddy Joe, he brought all that southern attitude up here” [ Abiodun Oyewole, THMDA 1.3.4] 7 In her seminal work, African-American Foodways: Explorations of History and Culture, Anne Bower remarks of barbecue, “Veal is seldom used in the West African countries that were the ancestral homes of most American blacks; barbecue, however, has deep African roots.” 8
This week, we pay tribute to comedian, barrier breaker, social activist and HistoryMaker Dick Gregory, who passed away on August 19, 2017.
However, our iconic interview with Gregory almost never occurred. The HistoryMakers founder and president, Julieanna Richardson, recalls that over ten years ago, HistoryMaker and The HistoryMakers D.C. Southwest Region Coordinator Amy Tate Billingsley called her one morning in July to say that Gregory was ready to be interviewed THAT day in Washington, D.C. Through the combined efforts of HistoryMakers’ staff and with enormous help from another HistoryMaker, Dr. E. Faye Williams , a close friend of Gregory’s, and treasurer of the Dick Gregory Foundation, the interview, which runs over six hours in length, was conducted by HistoryMaker, distinguished journalist, and D.C. native Paul Brock on July 29 th , 2007.
Brock best encapsulated the experience of interviewing Gregory in his post-interview brief: “ On the first two tapes he was evasive on most of his family and early childhood questions. In each instance, he responded by discussing his personal philosophies. This pattern continued as I questioned him on his formative years, until we reached his senior year at Sumner High School. Sometime during our discussion of his activities while at Southern Illinois University, he all of a sudden was ready to talk about his youth, his mom and dad—and the formative years of his youth. From there, it was a wild and wooly ride to the end.”
Gregory ended the program prophetically by saying interview, “If I had to…put one thing on my tombstone, it would be simple: ‘He had no hidden agenda,’ you know” 9

In daily celebration of your homegoing, we’ll stay woke.

If you search The HistoryMakers Digital Archive for foodway stories, 6,201 foodway stories appear! If you then search for sweet potatoes , you will find 207 stories matching this criteria. These stories range from agricultural engineer Walter A. Hill describing his research on sweet potatoes following in the footsteps of Dr. George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University; foundation executive Julius Wayne Dudley sharing a southern tale on sweet potatoes passed down from his grandparents; and county probate judge Edith Ingram recalling her family’s preservation of sweet potatoes on the farm of her maternal grandmother’s garden in Sparta, Georgia. 
The HistoryMakers Digital Archive is now home to 2,168 historically significant interviews, with over 115,563 stories. This week, 23 new interviews were added to our unique resource. Joining us are:
Michael Mauldin

Record executive Michael Mauldin (1953 - ) became the first African American president of the black music division for Columbia Records in 1995. 
Matthew Kennedy

Music professor, choral director, and pianist Matthew Kennedy (1921 - 2014) was the former director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers at Fisk University.
Dick Gregory

 Social activist and comedian Dick Gregory (1932 - 2017) was hired by Hugh Hefner to perform stand-up comedy at the Chicago Playboy Club and performed on many television programs, including The Ed Sullivan Show. Gregory also devoted much of his life to championing the causes of civil rights and healthy eating. 
Bobby Rogers

 Songwriter and singer Bobby Rogers (1940 - 2013) was a second tenor with the legendary Motown group, The Miracles.
Marguerita Le Etta Washington

Newspaper publisher Marguerita Le Etta Washingto n (1948 - ) was the publisher of the Omaha Star, the only African American newspaper in Nebraska.
Roshell “Mike” Anderson

Television news reporter, and Radio DJ Roshell "Mike" Anderson (1952 - ) was an anchor and reporter for WISN-TV Channel 12 News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  
Henrietta Sm ith

 Library science professor and school media librarian Henrietta Smith (1922 - ) became the first African American faculty member at the University of South Florida’s School of Library and Information Science.
Gwendol yn Patton

 Civil rights activist and archivist Gwendolyn Patton (1943 - 2017 worked in the archives at Trenholm Technical College.
Dr. Paul Knott

 Cardiologist Dr. Paul Knott (1935 - ) dedicated his career to medical administration, was founder of the Correctional Healthcare Administrators, and invented the Knott Lock security device for automobiles.
Otis L. Story

 Hospital administrator Otis L. Story (1951 - ) was president and CEO of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Charles Whit ten

 Pediatrician Dr. Charles Whitten (1922 - 2008) was an expert on sickle cell anemia.
Dr. Christoph er Leggett

 Cardiologist Dr. Christopher Leggett (1960 - ) was the Director of Cardiology at Medical Associates of North Georgia. 
Yvonne Sanders-Butler

 Health advocate Yvonne Sanders-Butler (1957 - ) was the founder of Ennovy, an organization created to help ignite wellness and healthier lifestyles and the author of Dessert Lovers Choice and Healthy Kids Smart Kids.

Ray F. Wil son

 Chemistry professor Ray F. Wilson (1926 - 2015) taught chemistry at Texas Southern University for forty-two years, and was the first African American student to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry and math from the University of Texas at Austin. 
The Honorable Jock Smith

Lawyer and municipal court judge The Honorable Jock Smith (1948 - 2012) was senior partner at Cochran, Cherry, Givens & Smith, P.C. in Tuskegee, Alabama.  
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson

Cabinet appointee The Honorable Alphonso Jackson (1945 - ) served as the nation’s thirteenth United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The Honorable Elbra Wedgeworth

City council member The Honorable Elbra Wedgeworth (1956 - ) served as Denver City Council President Pro Tempore, City Council President.
Calvin Coolidge Goode

City council member Calvin Coolidge Goode (1927 - ) was the second African American to serve on the Phoenix, Arizona City Council. 
Jo hn Harris

 Nonprofit chief executive and academic administrator John Harris (1961 - ) founded Encouragement Unlimited, Inc., a faith based charitable organization. 
Dennis Terry

 Nonprofit executive and civic leader Dennis Terry (1944 - ) co-founded the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council.
Edward Adam s

 Business consultant and corporate executive Edward Adams (1939 - 2008) worked with IBM for over three decades.
Ronald Brown

 Investment manager Ronald Brown (1953 - 2008) was the President and CEO of Sales Technology for Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, and was appointed President and CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Group.
Charles Holton

 Social service administrator and basketball player Charles Holton (1930 - ) played with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1951 to 1957. He then became social services administrator for the State of Wisconsin.  

1.Jessica B. Harris (The HistoryMakers A2004.133), interviewed by Larry Crowe, August 18, 2004, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 7, story 4, Jessica B. Harris reflects upon the symbolism of the table for African American culture

2.The Honorable Edith Ingram (The HistoryMakers A2006.007), interviewed by Evelyn Pounds, January 25, 2006, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 2, story 6, The Honorable Edith Ingram recalls preparing hogs to eat with the community

3.Randall, Alice, and Caroline Randall Williams.  Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family . New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2015.

4.Barbara Heineback (The HistoryMakers A2005.181), interviewed by Jodi Merriday, August 2, 2005, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 1, story 7, Barbara Heineback recalls holidays with her family in Georgia

5.Covey, Herbert C., and Dwight Eisnach.  What the Slaves Ate: Recollections of African American Foods and Foodways from the Slave Narratives . Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press/ABC-CLIO, 2009.

6.Harris, Jessica B.  High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America . New York: St Martins Press, 2013.

7.Abiodun Oyewole (The HistoryMakers A2006.164), interviewed by Shawn Wilson, December 13, 2006, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 3, story 4, Abiodun Oyewole recalls barbecues at his home in Queens, New York

8.Bower, Anne.  African American Foodways: Explorations of History and Culture . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.

9. Dick Gregory (The HistoryMakers A2007.220), interviewed by Paul Brock, July 29, 2007, The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. Session 1, tape 12, story 5, Dick Gregory reflects upon his life, pt. 1
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