|Southern fried chicken, recipes below|
Here is a passage from literary great James Weldon Johnson's autobiography in which he tells the story of traveling from his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida to Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. Johnson, who was bilingual, was traveling with his Cuban classmate Ricardo and the two of them were eating a lunch that Johnson's mother prepared for the Jim Crow train ride to Atlanta as the young men headed off to start their first year of college: “The train pulled out and we settled down comfortably in one seat after having arranged our packages, among which was a box of lunch,” recalls Johnson. “In those days no one would think of boarding a train without a lunch, not even for a trip of two or three hours; and no lunch was a real lunch that did not consist of fried chicken, slices of buttered bread, hard-boiled eggs, a little paper of salt and pepper, and orange or two, and a piece of cake. . . . A number of colored people had got on the train but we were the only ones in the first-class car. Before we could open our lunch the conductor came round. I gave him the tickets, and he looked at them and looked at us.” Johnson goes on to say, “Then he said to me gruffly, ‘You had better get out of this car and into the one ahead.’ ‘But,’ I answered, ‘we have first class tickets; and this the first-class car, isn’t it?’ It is probable that the new law was very new to him, and he said not unkindly, ‘You’ll be likely to have trouble if you try to stay in this car.’ Ricardo . . . asked me, ‘Que dice?’ (What is he saying?).” Johnson explained to Ricardo in Spanish that the conductor demanded that they live the whites only first class car. “We decided to stay where we were. But we did not have to enforce the decision. As soon as the conductor heard us speaking a foreign language, his attitude changed; he punched our tickets and them back, and treated us just as he did the other passengers in the car. We ate our lunch, lay back in our seats, and went to sleep. . . .This was my first impact against race prejudice as a concrete fact. I like this story because it’s about food and it illustrates one of the myriad of ways black southerners negotiated Jim Crow laws in the south.
Fried chicken recipe: http://americanfood.about.com/od/chickenrecipes/ss/Fried-Chicken-Recipe.htm
Video vegan fried chicken recipe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te6Cv7RTazU
James Weldon James post with related recipes: http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/search?q=+James+Weldon+Johnson
Earth Eats Radio podcast and blog series on back to school :