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Where People Went to “Eat, Meet, Rest, Plan, and Strategize”

Where People Went to “Eat, Meet, Rest, Plan, and Strategize”

Interior of Paschal's Restaurant, 831 West Hunter Street, Atlanta, Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Interior of Paschal's Restaurant, 831 West Hunter Street, Atlanta, Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Brothers James and Robert Paschal first opened a thirty-seat lunch counter sandwich shop on Hunter Street in Atlanta, Georgia in 1947. Over time, they moved to a location adjacent to the Atlanta University Center (AUC) and expanded their business to include a motel, a nightclub on the famous Chitlin Circuit, and an upscale restaurant. In 1960 the AUC consisted of Morehouse (male), Spelman (female), Clark (coed), and Morris Brown (coed) colleges; the Interdenominational Theological Center (male), a seminary; and Atlanta University (coed), a graduate school. The collective student body of the six schools totaled about 4,000. The AUC resided in the middle of an African American community in southwest Atlanta where fear of blacks generally kept whites out of the neighborhood. Atlanta city officials gave Paschal’s a “colored only” Jim Crow restaurant seating designation. However, the restaurants famed fried chicken and other menu items attracted white dinners who made up some seventy percent of its regular customers. The brothers had committed to employ as many AUC college students as they could knowing that many of them needed the money. Many of their student employees went on to join the sit-in movement in Atlanta and the restaurant served as a meeting place for activists and politicians during the civil rights movement. 

Regional Rifts on of Fried Chicken

A 1960s article in the Baltimore Sun tells us that there is but one basic fried chicken recipe which cooks across the Americas rift off of in a manner similar to a talented and I jazz artist. In Kentucky for example cooks serve fried chicken with hot pancakes smothered with Brown gravy. It is fried chicken and waffles in Virginia smothered in white gravy. In Georgia they do fried chicken with grits, rice, or whipped sweet potatoes. Gulf Coast cooks in the South do a lemon rift rubbing lemon on the skin of the chicken before pan frying it and serving it most often with red beans and rice. This is the style for example in New Orleans.

 Basic Fried Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

1 plump, young chicken

Salt, Pepper, flour

Fat or oil

Directions

Cut chicken in serving pieces. Season with salt and pepper and roll in the flour. Heat fat (about 1 ½ inch deep) in heavy frying pan. Put the thickest pieces of chicken in fat first. Do not crowd- leave enough space for the fat to come up around each piece. Cook slowly, turning often. Do not cover pan. The thickest pieces will take from 20-35 minutes to cook. After the pieces have been browned, cooking may be finished in a moderate oven (350 degrees F.) if more convenient.

The Baltimore Sun, January 29, 1960

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