Sitting by the Fireside: African American History, Women’s History, and Food

Circulating Now from the NLM Historical Collections

Circulating Now welcomes guest blogger, Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD. Dr. Williams-Forson is an associate professor and chair, Department of American Studies, University of Maryland-College Park and the guest curator of NLM’s exhibition, Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America.

A detail from a painting showing a black woman carrying a tray between buildings.Leaving the month of February, when we celebrate Black History Month, and entering March, when we highlight the achievements of women, seems a fitting time to discuss Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America. The exhibition recognizes the ways in which meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes. Food, as an object or set of objects, reveals a great deal about who we are, and some of the life experiences that we have and have had.

Only in the last several decades have food and cooking as a cultural process, been given serious attention. Prior…

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