Food and Activism

Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth Century America

In the 1990s, Jennifer Jensen Wallach was fascinated by the rise of food TV and celebrity chefs. She soon discovered that the American obsession with food practices wasn't new.

Wallach, associate professor of history, explores African American eating habits in Every Nation Has Its Dish: Black Bodies and Black Food in Twentieth Century America (University of North Carolina Press). She studied African American activists, including Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, who saw proper food habits as part of their political program to secure African American civil rights.

"They were hardly alone in their interest in food politics, and the American obsession with food decisions is hardly new," she says.

Continue reading