Thursday, November 1

Kitchen to Classroom: Eating Jim Crow

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer, 1943. Courtesy of the Library of Congress
A weekly dispatch from our postdoctoral fellow, Angela Jill Cooley. 

I am excited to announce my spring course offering for undergraduate honors students here at the University of Mississippi.

I will teach a course that examines the relationship between food and race in the mid-twentieth-century American South. The course (SST 102 Honors, Eating Jim Crow: Food in the Civil Rights Movement) will be offered through the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Students will explore the segregation of public eating places, efforts to desegregate these spaces, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The course will be divided into two parts. During the first part of the semester, students will read primary source documents and engage in class discussions about how food was implicated in the Civil Rights Movement, especially during sit-in demonstrations. They will examine the issues involved in segregated eating space, sit-in activism, and civil rights legislation. During the second part of the semester, students will engage in the practice of history by researching segregation and desegregation at public eating places in specific locations. Each student will complete a final paper based on primary sources that contributes to the historiography of civil rights.

In addition to learning and writing about this important period in Southern history, students will also contribute to the knowledge base of the Southern Foodways Alliance as it prepares programming for the 2014 Symposium, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of restaurant desegregation that resulted from the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A nuanced history of this period has yet to be written, but University of Mississippi honors students will help expand our collective knowledge of food and race in the South.

We'll post the class syllabus here on the blog in January. In the meantime, feel free to contact me at if you have questions about the course.