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The Transition to Soul Food at the Yellow Bowl

Yellow Bowl menu items back when the restaurant was open and doing a brisk business

When the East Baltimore's Johnston Square community experienced both capital and white flight in the 1970s, the Fullards transformed the menu at the Yellow Bowl Restaurant they purchased in 1968. Like other black entrepreneurs at the same time, they unabashedly marketed restaurant as a soul food eatery. Soul and soul food, according to one scholar, developed out of a larger black power project that called for creating black cultural expressions different from white society. During the 1960s and 1970s CORE and the Black Panthers launched organizing efforts in Baltimore that led to an increased black consciousness. Like wearing African attire or sporting an Afro, eating soul food in the 1960s and 1970s represented a political statement that one knew and loved their roots. Thus, starting in the 1960s, African-American urban dwellers, first in the Southeast gradually made the transition from talking about rock music (rhythm and blues) and southern food to calling it soul music and soul food. In the face of increasing ethnic diversity of urban centers, soul became associated with African-American culture and ethnicity. People with soul had a down-home style that migrants from the rural South like the Fullards could unite around. In terms of food that meant southern dishes like scrapple sandwiches, grits, candied yams, corn bread, fried and stewed chicken, collard greens, biscuits and gravy and peach cobbler.

Baltimore’s Yellow Bowl Restaurant Up For Auction Tomorrow

Baltimore’s Yellow Bowl Restaurant