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Food and “The Economics of Storekeeping” in 1940

Corner store Baltimore, Maryland 1940
Doing a series on foodways in African American neighborhoods in the city of Baltimore from field work I did there last month. I found an image of a corner store in 1940 on the East side of the 300 block of North Bond between Mullikin and Orleans Street in Baltimore. Stores like these sold items like salt pork or fat back, imported crackers, cheese, soft drinks, and the ubiquitous jar of pickled pig’s feet on the counter near the cash registrar. During the Depression people had little cash and as a result these corner stores ran on credit. “The storekeeper would maintain a complicated set of books for each of his regular customers and when money came in the customers would settle up with the grocer. It’s that last part that my grandfather never quite understood,” says Civil Rights leader Ralph Abernathy who grew up in Marengo County, Alabama. Today many still by their food on credit with little understanding of how the system works, but the credit card has replaced the storekeeper’s credit book,

Related Stories on Grocery Stores: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Stores

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