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W. E. B. Dubois

W. E. B. Dubois

The Souls of Black Folk,  First published in 1903

The Souls of Black Folk, First published in 1903

People often ask me why I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in history. In part, a PBS documentary on the life and work of W. E. B. Dubois (1868-1963) I saw in 1985 inspired me. His work resonated with my goals and aspiration to make an impact with my work. Talk about an impact, how about Dubois’ book The Souls of Black Folk.  First published in 1903, it's still in print and used in courses around the world! The book is part history, part autobiography, and Dubois delves also into a bit of food writing.  Before graduating From Fisk University in Nashville Tennessee in 1888, he taught at a segregated rural public school in Tennessee. “On Friday nights I often went home with some of the children [from the school]—sometimes to Doc Burke’s farm,” recalls Dubois. “In the tiny back kitchen I was often invited to ‘take out and help’ myself to fried chicken and wheat biscuits, ‘meat’ and corn pone, string-beans and berries.”

Fried Chicken Recipe


1 Chicken





Cut the chicken up, separating every joint, and wash clean.  Salt and pepper it, and roll into flour well.  Have your fat very hot, and drop the pieces into it, and let them cook brown.  The chicken is done when the fork passes easily into it.  After the chicken is all cooked, leave a little of the hot fat in the skillet; then take a tablespoon of dry flour and brown it in the fat, stirring it around, then pour water in and stir till the gravy is as thin as soup.

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Soul, Seasoning, and Sacred Food