God’s Eyes Have Always Been Found In Black Kitchens

Do you know the spiritual significance of black eyed peas? A staple in so many of our cultural dishes, black eyed peas make a dish sing. But they also reminded generations of those before us to raise our voices in joy and in the pursuit of liberation.

God’s Eyes Have Always Been Found In Black Kitchens
Via Wikimedia Commons

Historically black eyed peas were called the eye of God. This held special significance for our ancestors on Watch Night

On December 31, 1862, Black communities waited with bated breath for the news that the Emancipation Proclamation had gone into effect

Bowls of piping hot Hoppin’ John were passed around, the eyes of God like little pearls. 

From then on, it became a tradition to eat black-eyed peas at New Year’s gatherings. 

In 1904 the Black-owned newspaper Broad Ax reported, “Mrs. Marshall Drish, 4613 Dearborn Street, received a small bag of black-eyed peas from one of her lady friends […] with the request she should cook and eat them all on New Year’s Day; If she did so she would have plenty of money all the year round.” 

While black-eyed peas can be found throughout Southern Black cuisine, they’re also in popular West African dishes like Red Red. Across West Africa, black-eyed peas symbolize fertility, beauty, and ancestral wisdom. 

Black-eyed peas are a simple ingredient steeped in history and symbolism. They remind us God’s eyes are upon us. 

Just like our ancestors on Watch Night, we must continue to seek liberation while gathering in community and working together until we all are free. 

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