Why Soul Food Is A Staple For Black Liberation Efforts

Whether it’s a huge spread of our family recipes or enjoying lunch with friends, we cannot help but feel full both physically and spiritually when we eat with our families and friends. We call it soul food for a reason.

Why Soul Food Is A Staple For Black Liberation Efforts
Via Wikimedia Commons

Eating in community and fellowship with one another is a sacred act. Matthew 14:19 reminds us that “Looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples.” Even when Jesus knew he was about to die, one of the first things he did was eat with his disciples. It’s the same for us. Black kitchens are where ancestral memories are preserved. Our grandma’s kitchen is where we first met God for many of us. 

Preparing and sharing food was one way our ancestors built and sustained community. Enslavement left little time for shared meals. Sunday dinner after worship was sacred. 

Fried chicken was a staple in these meals, a tradition we still honor today. The best parts of the bird, offered to a visiting pastor or minister, were called “preacher’s parts.” 

When the Black Panthers were looking for a way to fuel revolution they went back to the basics: food. They understood that planning for Black futures meant ensuring Black nutrition. 

In collaboration with a church in Oakland, California, the Panthers’ Free Breakfast for School Children Program was launched in 1969. The program would feed thousands of Black students over the years, paving the way for free breakfast programs seen across the United States. 

Food, community, and church continue to be three key ingredients for Black liberation efforts. 

We call it soul food for a reason. It’s made with love. And wherever there’s love there’s Spirit. 

Blessed are the seats we find at our own tables. Black liberation begins here, in conversations over delicious food surrounded by people we love.

What will you bring to our Black Liberation table?

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