Getting Something to Eat in Jackson

Two Mississippi Museums | 222 North Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39201

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Join the Mississippi Department of Archives & History in person on Friday, April 15, at 2 p.m. (or watch the livestream on Facebook) when Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. and Carla Shedd will discuss Ewoodzie’s new book “Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South.” Chef Enrika Williams will provide finger foods and appetizers. The program will take place in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums, 222 North Street, Jackson. A book signing will follow!
“Getting Something to Eat in Jackson” uses what people eat and how to explore the interaction of race and class in the lives of African Americans in the contemporary urban South. Ewoodzie examines how food availability, choice, and consumption vary greatly between classes of African Americans in Jackson, and how this reflects and shapes their very different experiences of a shared racial identity.
Ewoodzie spent more than a year following a group of socioeconomically diverse African Americans―from upper-middle-class patrons of the city’s fine-dining restaurants to men experiencing homelessness who must organize their days around the schedules of soup kitchens. Ewoodzie goes food shopping, cooks, and eats with a young mother living in poverty and a grandmother working two jobs. He works in a black-owned BBQ restaurant, and he meets a man who decides to become a vegan for health reasons but who must drive across town to get tofu and quinoa. Ewoodzie also learns about how soul food is changing and why it is no longer a staple survival food. Throughout, he shows how food choices influence, and are influenced by, the racial and class identities of black Jacksonians.
B. Brian Foster, author of I Don’t Like the Blues: Race, Place, and the Backbeat of Black Life, wrote that Getting Something to Eat in Jackson is “So, so good. And important. Ewoodzie calls us to rethink the relationship between black Southerners and the food traditions that they have developed and remade. Getting Something to Eat in Jackson gives us a rich glimpse of contemporary black life, told from a place―Mississippi―that is vital to the story of who we are, where we have come from, and where we might go.”
Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. is associate professor of sociology at Davidson College. His first book was “Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop’s Early Years.” Carla Shedd is associate professor of sociology at City University of New York and author of the books “Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice” and “When Protection and Punishment Collide: America’s Juvenile Court System and the Carceral Continuum.”
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