Title

To Live and Dine in Dixie: The Evolution of Urban Food Culture in the Jim Crow South

Document Type

Book

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

This book explores the changing food culture of the urban American South during the Jim Crow era by examining how race, ethnicity, class, and gender contributed to the development and maintenance of racial segregation in public eating places. Focusing primarily on the 1900s to the 1960s, Angela Jilly Cooley identifies the cultural differences between activists who saw public eating places such as urban lunch counters as sites of political participation and believed access to such spaces a right of citizenship, and white supremacists who interpreted desegregation as a challenge to property rights and advocated local control over racial issues. Significant legal changes occurred across this period as the federal government sided at first with the white supremacists but later supported the unprecedented progress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which - among other things - required desegregation of the nation's restaurants. Because the culture of white supremacy that contributed to racial segregation in public accommodations began in the white southern home, Cooley also explores domestic eating practices in nascent southern cities and reveals how the most private of activities - cooking and dining - became a cause for public concern from the meeting rooms of local women's clubs to the halls of the U.S. Congress.