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Craig Welburn

Restaurateur Craig Welburn was born on May 27, 1949 in Berwyn, Pennsylvania to Ruth Ann and Harold Ira Welburn. He graduated from Conestoga High School in Berwyn, Pennsylvania in 1967. Welburn went on to receive his B.A. degree in secondary education and social science from Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania in 1971, and his M.A. degree in management from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

From 1972 to 1983, Welburn worked in middle management at the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company. While there, Welburn began a four year part-time training program with the McDonald’s Corporation in 1979 that would prepare him to purchase and run his own McDonald’s franchise. He and his wife, Diane Welburn, purchased his first McDonald’s location in the West Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia in 1983. That same year, Welburn and his wife founded their own company, Welburn Management. Through Welburn Management, the couple would acquire eight restaurants in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware. They expanded into the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas in 2001, adding another twenty five restaurants. In 1999, Welburn was named chairman and CEO of the National Black McDonald’s Operators Association. During his tenure, Welburn helped to increase the number of African American owned restaurants in the McDonald’s system by forty percent.

Welburn served on the board of directors of the Phil Ad Mac organization; as chairman of the McDonald’s African American Consumer Market Advertising Committee; and as a member of the McDonald’s Operators National Advertising Committee. He was also a member of the McDonald’s National Leadership Council and served on the Library of Congress’ James Madison Council. In 2002, Welburn established the Craig Welburn Endowed Scholarship Fund his alma mater, Cheyney University, to improve support of financial need for students. He has also received many awards and honors for his work. In 2013, Welburn and his wife were honored with the People Leadership Award by the Baltimore Washington Region ROA and he was inducted into the Boule in 2015.

Welburn and his wife, Diane E. Welburn, have four children.

Craig Welburn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.172

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/19/2018

Last Name

Welburn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Craig

Birth City, State, Country

Berwyn

HM ID

WEL08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

From Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/27/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Milkshakes

Short Description

Restaurateur Craig Welburn (1949- ) and his wife, Diane Welburn, were the world’s largest African American McDonald’s franchise owners, with twenty-nine locations throughout the Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas.

Favorite Color

Blue, Brown

Diane Welburn

Restaurateur Diane Welburn was born on February 26, 1948 in Sea Isle City, New Jersey to Jean Riddick and Thomas Lacey. At two months old, Welburn was adopted by Albert Wilson and Mollie Wilson. Welburn attended Monroeville Elementary School and later graduated from Woodstown High School. She received her B.A. degree in social work as an Educational Opportunity Fund King Scholar at Glassboro State College, now known as Rowan University, in 1974. Welburn later returned to Glassboro State College to pursue a special education and early childhood teaching certification and a New Jersey real estate license.

Welburn worked in Camden, New Jersey with the Camden New Jersey State Division of Youth and Family Services, as a social worker, prior to joining the Woodbury, New Jersey School District as a special education teacher, where she earned tenure. While she taught, Welburn’s husband, Craig Welburn, began a four year part-time training program with the McDonald’s Corporation in 1979 that would prepare him to purchase and run his own McDonald’s franchise. The couple purchased their first McDonald’s location in the West Kensington neighborhood of North Philadelphia in 1983. That same year, Welburn and her husband founded their own company, Welburn Management. Through Welburn Management, the couple would acquire eight restaurants in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Delaware. They expanded into the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas in 2001, adding another twenty five restaurants. Welburn went on to found the Craig T. & Diane E. Welburn Philanthropic Fund in 2016, where serving as president.

Welburn has received a number of awards and honors, including the distinguished Rowan University Education Opportunity Alumni Award from her alma mater as well as the Chester County Jack and Jill Mother of the Year Award. Her business endeavors have earned her and her husband, Craig Welburn, the Ronald McDonald Award for Community Involvement, the Dale City Business of the Year Award and McDonald’s National Black McDonald’s Operators Association Dr. Lozelle J. DeLuz Award.

Welburn and her husband, Craig Welburn, have four children.

Diane Welburn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 19, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.173

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/19/2018

Last Name

Welburn

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Diane

Birth City, State, Country

Sea Isle City

HM ID

WEL09

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere In The World

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

2/26/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States of America

Favorite Food

Gluten Free Chocolate

Short Description

Restaurateur Diane Welburn (1948- ) and her husband, Craig Welburn, were the world’s largest African American McDonald’s franchise owners, with twenty-nine locations throughout the Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. areas.

Favorite Color

Red

Alexander Smalls

Restaurateur and opera singer Alexander Smalls was born on February 7, 1952 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He graduated from Spartanburg High School in 1970, and enrolled at Wofford College before transferring to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he received his B.F.A. degree in opera in 1974. He then attended the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1974 and 1977.

Upon graduation, Smalls, a classically trained baritone, toured professionally as an opera singer. As a member of the Houston Grand Opera, he performed in the George Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess, which earned Grammy and Tony Awards in 1977. Smalls studied opera and culinary arts in Europe; upon returning to the United States in the late 1970s, he founded his own catering business, Small Miracle. In 1994, Smalls launched his first restaurant, Café Beulah, in New York City, specializing in Southern Revival cooking that combined Gullah and international cuisines. Then, in 1996, Smalls opened Sweet Ophelia's, a casual dining venue featuring late-night, live entertainment in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. He went on to open The Shoebox Café, an upscale Southern bistro in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal; however, the restaurant closed in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11. Smalls founded a second catering business, Smalls & Co., which served a celebrity clientele that included Denzel Washington, Spike Lee and Toni Morrison. In 2012, Smalls established Harlem Jazz Enterprises; and, in partnership with Richard Parsons, opened two restaurants in Harlem in 2013: Minton’s and The Cecil.

Smalls has appeared on television on NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, and the Food Network, among others. He also served as a contributor to Food & Wine, The Washington Post, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Crain's New York Business. Smalls authored the memoir and cookbook Grace the Table: Stories and Recipes from My Southern Revival, which features a foreword from jazz musician Wynton Marsalis.

Smalls was the recipient of the Legacy Award given by Amsterdam News in 2014, and the C-Cap Honors Award given by C-Cap in 2015. He joined the board of the Harlem School of The Arts in 2014, and served as board chair of director of Opus 118 Music School from 2007 to 2009.

Alexander Smalls was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 20, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.021

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/20/2016

Last Name

Smalls

Maker Category
Middle Name

Bernard

Schools

Curtis Institute of Music

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Wofford College

First Name

Alexander

Birth City, State, Country

Spartanburg

HM ID

SMA05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Africa

Favorite Quote

And There You Have It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

2/7/1952

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter and Jelly, Franks and Beans

Short Description

Restaurateur and opera singer Alexander Smalls (1952 - ), the father of Southern Revival Cooking, has opened five restaurants in New York City: Café Beulah, Sweet Ophelia's, The Shoebox Café, Minton’s and The Cecil. He wrote the cookbook Grace the Table: Stories and Recipes from My Southern Revival.

Employment

Harlem Jazz Enterprises LLC

Smalls & Company

Shoebox Cafe

Sweet Ophelia

Cafe Buelah

Favorite Color

Yellow

Marcus Samuelsson

Chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson (born Kassahun Tsegie) was born in Ethiopia on January 25, 1971. Samuelsson was orphaned in 1972, when a tuberculosis epidemic took the life of his mother. In 1973, he and his sister were adopted by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson and brought to Gothenburg, Sweden, where his grandmother, Helga, taught him how to cook. Samuelsson went on to study at the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, apprenticed in Switzerland in 1989, and then in France from 1992 to 1994.

In 1994, Samuelsson moved to the United States for an apprenticeship with Aquavit, a restaurant in New York City. He was quickly promoted to executive chef and then made partner of Aquavit in 1997. In 1995, Samuelsson became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times. In 2003, he opened the New York restaurant, Riingo, which served Japanese-influenced American food. He then launched a television show, Inner Chef, which aired in 2005, and another in 2008 called Urban Cuisine. In 2010, he opened a third restaurant called Red Rooster in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He founded FoodRepublic.com in 2011, and opened another restaurant, Ginny's Supper Club, in 2012. In the fall of 2012, Samuelsson, together with Clarion Hotels, launched a restaurant concept called Kitchen & Table. In addition, he has served as a visiting professor of international culinary science at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts in Sweden, and has been an advisor to The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

Samuelsson is the author of Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine (2003), The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa (2006), New American Table (2009), and Yes, Chef: A Memoir (2012). He also authored the Swedish cookbook, En smakresa: middagstips från Marcus Samuelsson, which was named Sweden’s Cookbook of the Year in 2002.

Samuelsson has received numerous honors for his work. In 1999, he was awarded the coveted James Beard Rising Star Chef Award for his work at Aquavit. In 2003, he was named "Best Chef: New York City" by the James Beard Foundation. Samuelsson has also been named a Great Chef of America by the Culinary Institute of America and a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. In 2009, he served as the guest chef for the first State Dinner of the Obama administration. He appeared on and won the reality television competition Top Chef Masters in 2010, and was a contestant on the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef in 2011. In 2013, Samuelsson won the James Beard Foundation award for Writing and Literature related to food.

Marcus Samuelsson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 18, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.166

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/18/2014

Last Name

Samuelsson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Culinary Institute

First Name

Marcus

HM ID

SAM06

Favorite Season

Summer

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Fine Folks

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/6/1970

Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Ethiopia

Favorite Food

Home Cooked Meal

Short Description

Chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson (1970 - ) was the executive chef and partner of the Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, and the owner of the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City.

Employment

Aquavit

Riingo

Red Rooster

FoodRepublic.com

Ginny's Supper Club

Umea University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts

Kitchen & Table

Marcus Samuelsson Group

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:7072,144:7488,149:13104,222:21552,307:22533,319:24782,368:25270,378:29362,424:42972,560:44830,566:45294,571:49407,611:50276,630:50592,635:77360,851:78439,868:79850,890:97394,1101:102730,1144:109293,1232:109779,1239:110265,1247:111399,1269:121174,1405:124198,1471:130696,1585:133520,1627:136435,1686:146074,1826:152460,1913:155190,1976:155470,1981:155890,1988:156240,1994:161050,2060:161378,2065:164740,2124:167210,2130:167868,2138:171670,2262$0,0:7300,104:8100,114:8600,120:21540,231:33334,408:34302,422:41462,479:59420,718:63460,783:64692,801:66617,841:67387,861:68927,900:69543,916:69851,921:74240,973:80314,1050:81298,1069:81708,1075:83758,1118:91670,1239:93050,1251:94850,1294:96506,1331:99674,1413:117585,1582:119455,1640:119965,1661:121750,1858:134466,2065:134964,2072:145430,2199:148220,2238:155900,2361:156480,2367
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcus Samuelsson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his maternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoption, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his birth father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his relationship with his sister

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his adoptive parents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his childhood in Sweden

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his early understanding of race, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoption, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Sweden

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his education in Sweden, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his adoptive mother's parenting

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers playing soccer in Sweden

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his early appreciation of food culture

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his education in Sweden, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers changing his focus to the culinary arts

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his early understanding of race, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his work ethic

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his home life in Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoptive upbringing

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers applying for his first restaurant job

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls working as a cook at the SAS Park Avenue Hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the mentorship of his first employer

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his apprenticeship at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his apprenticeship at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the influence of Mayor David N. Dinkins' election

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his challenges as a black aspiring chef in Europe

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his decision to focus on his career instead of his family

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls being hired at Aquavit in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his arrival in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls becoming the executive chef of Aquavit

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers changing the menu at Aquavit

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the clientele of Aquavit

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the African American professional community in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about Aquavit's three star rating in The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his success in the culinary profession

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his adoptive father's death

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about applying for U.S. citizenship

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers moving to New York City's Harlem neighborhood

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers opening the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers opening the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the clientele of the Red Rooster Harlem

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the staff of the Red Rooster Harlem

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his culinary vision

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson describes the marketing strategy of the Marcus Samuelsson Group

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the history of African American restaurant ownership

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his wife

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$6

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Marcus Samuelsson describes his early appreciation of food culture
Marcus Samuelsson talks about the clientele of the Red Rooster Harlem
Transcript
Where did your love of, of food come from?$$From my grandmother, from my grandmother.$$What's her name?$$My grandmother Helga is really the one that showed me what love meant in terms of food and terroir--that you're of a place. You know, I got that essentially from my uncles in, on my father's side, but also mostly from my grand- from my grandmother. We are of a place and therefore we eat this way. It is a spiritual connection, so she taught me how to eat with a spiritual compass--not necessarily defined by a religion but more so, you know, when you don't have money you can still eat very well. You just don't eat the cuts that fine folks eat; so our protein was meatballs, or our dishes had more potatoes in them, or, you know, our bread crumbs were made with real bread and you have to scrape it and save it and dry it. All our--so the sense and way of eating with a luxury, that's how we eat but we are not spending a lot of money on it. All our jams were homemade. All our tarts, all our breads were homemade; so I grew up very rustic flavor tone--saltier, crustier bread, textures that were hard, but real food so at a very early age I can define--. She taught me, she gave me blueberries when they were not in season just to teach me, "Okay. See this? They are not in season. Don't eat them. You have to wait." She taught me when the lingonberries were ripe to pick. My uncles taught me how to fish and when to throw the fish back when it was just, maybe, two inches too short. There are different rules on the sea that you have to know, that you know any person on the sea who knows these things, what you don't do, what you do, how you treat it. But the fish we ate summertime was always fresh; again, very salty flavors and you preserved fish for the days when you don't know what is going to happen, when you don't have food, whereas my family back then, oh, we always talk--the Russian might come. We were constantly occupied with the fact that Russia would come and take over Sweden. You had to hide food in the basement, just like my parents--my father in Ethiopia [Tsegie] hides food today because another tribe might come and take it from (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Today?$$Of course, today--there is no difference.$When did you open Rooster [Red Rooster Harlem, New York, New York]?$$December 10, 2010.$$Now, this is a couple of years after the economy has fallen apart again--$$Um-hm.$$--and this is an expensive restaurant. What, what was the opening like in terms of being in this neighborhood? Harlem [New York, New York] has changed quite a bit, but it's still at a soft time.$$Yeah, I mean for me I have worked--95 percent of my education is being a chef--I've worked to cook for the 2 percent in li- in the city, right? And, it's so liberating when you can cook for the 98 percent, and that was--'cause I grew up that way. I grew up in an inclusive environment. I did not grow up exclusive, and I didn't want to run from myself. I wanted to do a restaurant that was there to celebrate right after--post church, that was there to celebrate the graduation, but was also there to celebrate every day; and with Rooster we have that possibility. I want to build a pr- restaurant that it was not fine dining, it's refined dining. It's not exclusive, it is inclusive. All of those things are of restaurant, but they are yet different. We're a brasserie, we're a neighborhood restaurant. What does that mean? That means that we can't take all reservation because if the neighborhood--we have three customer: we have the Harlemite, the visitor, and the New Yorker. The Harlemite, it's their restaurant, they're gonna walk in. They're not gonna make a reservation to Red Rooster. They live here. It's like you hang out in the bar and then you get, you know, twenty minutes later, you have a seat. The visitor books online. I'm going to New York [New York]. On that third night, I want to go to Harlem. I'll go to Brooklyn [New York]; second night, I want to go to Harlem. They book online most likely. The New Yorker is like, "Give me eight o'clock seat right now. Do you know who I am?" That's a New Yorker, right? So, we encompass--Rooster encompasses all of that because you can sit in our bar and eat meatballs and have a beer, and can be in and out for twenty bucks [dollars]; or you can come and celebrate and be part of it for $100 a person. I'm not an editor of your celebration and your happiness anymore. I'm not gonna tell you how to dress, and--come as you are. Spend as much or as little as you want, but you're always welcome. That's a shift.

Norma Jean Darden

Former model, restaurateur and caterer Norma Jean Darden was born in Newark, New Jersey. Darden enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York where she graduated with her B.A. degree in liberal arts in 1961. She then entered the world of modeling while at Sarah Lawrence and was a part of the historic 1973 Models of Versailles show in Paris, which featured twenty models, the first collective of African American models to grace a European fashion runway. Throughout her modeling career, Darden graced the pages of fashion magazines such as Bazaar, Glamour, Mademoiselle and Vogue. After a medical condition forced her to leave the world of modeling in 1975, Darden and her sister Carole launched a catering business. Three years later, they co-wrote a seminal cookbook on Southern cooking titled, Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine: Recipes and Reminiscences of a Family.

Darden then opened her first restaurant in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood called Spoonbread, Inc, which specialized in Southern cuisine. In 1997, Darden opened two more restaurants with Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Miss Maude’s Spoonbread Too restaurants, both in Manhattan. Darden’s Spoonbread Catering has amassed a client list that includes Fortune 500 companies and celebrity clients like Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey. In addition, Darden appeared in the motion pictureThe Cotton Club in 1984 and has served as food stylist for the Eddie Murphy film, Boomerang. Additionally, Darden produced a one-woman show based on her book titled Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine, which premiered at the American Place Theatre.

Darden’s restaurants have been featured in publications as diverse as the New York Times, USA Today, Black Enterprise, Essence and Ebony magazines.

Additionally, Darden sits on the Board of the Salvation Army.

Norma Jean Darden was interviewed byThe HistoryMakers on May 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.126

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/14/2012

Last Name

Darden

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jean

Occupation
Schools

Sarah Lawrence College

Nishuane

Hillside

Northfield School for Girls

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Norma

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

DAR04

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Any

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Expenses

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Emergency #: 212-781-9096 (sister Carole)

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

11/4/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread (Spoon)

Short Description

Restaurateur and model Norma Jean Darden (1940 - ) was one of the first African American models to grace a European runway and was considered one of the most successful black caterers in New York.

Employment

Spoonbread Inc

Public Theater

Wilhelmina Models

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:1484,20:1970,28:24210,366:25020,379:27774,434:29556,467:31338,496:41568,601:44956,678:45649,689:47343,712:73252,1075:91780,1452:103608,1618:114624,1791:115335,1804:115651,1809:120865,1894:129127,1972:136237,2062:137738,2101:138212,2108:140661,2142:162772,2396:163276,2403:182864,2658:192514,2757:192970,2792:200418,2938:230196,3313:232788,3333:235372,3378:239248,3445:257160,3607$0,0:5298,131:14286,263:35330,532:44485,642:55885,826:67072,910:86060,1145:86352,1150:88980,1198:89710,1211:90805,1227:91097,1232:93506,1273:93798,1278:102810,1389:119155,1600:120130,1618:120580,1630:121105,1638:141301,1790:166329,2181:180374,2453:188468,2529:191280,2580:195156,2651:196372,2684:223538,3009:236614,3235:237118,3243:269760,3698:291520,3980:292455,3997:293900,4018:307100,4187:307484,4194:319308,4267:325800,4335
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Norma Jean Darden's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Norma Jean Darden lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Norma Jean Darden describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her paternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her paternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her paternal family history, pt.3

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Norma Jean Darden describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Norma Jean Darden recalls dangers her father faced as a physician in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Norma Jean Darden describes her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her father, a physician who practiced at Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Norma Jean Darden describes her family's move to Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Norma Jean Darden describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her grade school years and being the potential target of a kidnapping

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Norma Jean Darden remembers the sights, sounds, and smells from summers in Wilson, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Norma Jean Darden recounts her grade school years at Nishuane School and Hillside School in Montclair, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Norma Jean Darden describes her experience at Northfield School for Girls in Northfield, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Norma Jean Darden describes her experience at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Norma Jean Darden describes an experience of racial discrimination at Vogue headquarters

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Norma Jean Darden describes picketing for the inclusions of black models and actors in Harper's Bazaar and on Broadway

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Norma Jean Darden recalls meeting HistoryMaker Audrey Smaltz and black modeling agencies at the beginning of her career

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Norma Jean Darden talks about studying acting at Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, New York and her first modeling break with Black Beauty Modeling Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her training as an actress

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Norma Jean Darden recalls dancing for Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her early years at Wilhelmina Models and the founder, Wilhelmina Cooper's death

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Norma Jean Darden recalls early black models and early black fashion shows

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Norma Jean Darden talks about the historic Battle of Versailles Fashion Show in Paris in 1973

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Norma Jean Darden talks about Beverly Johnson's Vogue cover

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her acting career in the 1970s and the end of her modeling career

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her cookbook, 'Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine,' pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her cookbook, "Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine," pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Norma Jean Darden talks about the beginning of her catering career

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Norma Jean Darden recalls her short-lived foray into the import/export business

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her catering company, Spoonbread, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her two restaurants, Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too, and Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Norma Jean Darden describes the challenges of running a catering business

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her menu

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Norma Jean Darden talks the impact of 9/11 and President Bill Clinton's Harlem residency on her restaurant business

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Norma Jean Darden talks about the one-woman show based on her book, 'Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Norma Jean Darden remembers being feted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her future aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Norma Jean Darden describes what she would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Norma Jean Darden reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Norma Jean Darden describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Norma Jean Darden describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Norma Jean Darden talks about her clients

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Norma Jean Darden narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Norma Jean Darden remembers the sights, sounds, and smells from summers in Wilson, North Carolina
Norma Jean Darden talks about her cookbook, 'Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine,' pt.1
Transcript
Okay, now I'm gonna back up some here and I wanna ask you about growing up during the summers in Wilson, North Carolina.$$Right.$$Now there should be some difference sights and sounds and smells from Wilson. So--$$Yes, well when we would get to Wilson, it was like freedom. There was no school and my Aunt Norma and my Uncle Ciell [ph.] were very--didn't have any children, so they were always so happy to welcome us. And we lived right on the route that took you from Florida right up to New Jersey. So at night there were buses and, and trucks and it was so noisy we couldn't even sleep when we first got to Wilson. 'Cause in Newark [New Jersey], although we had the bar across the street and the rooming house and there was the, the Jews with their caps and they were singing and almost like chants. We had Father Divine and all the people dressed in white. And we had all the diversity in Newark and the crowdedness. When we got to Wilson, it was a whole 'nother thing. The rituals were entirely different. In Newark you put on your shorts and you went out and that was it. Then you went to bed. When you got to Wilson, you had on your play clothes during the day. Then you took your showers, then you got dressed up and you went calling. So you would go visit a neighbor, and my aunt would take us. And then we went to the movies. My mother [Mamie Jean Darden] and father [Walter Darden] weren't much on movies. But there was the black movie [theater] in Wilson, and--or else you could go to the white movie [theater] and sit in the balcony. And my aunt went to the movies every--at least three times a week. So we had movies. And then coming home, we walked through the black section and we would go to Shade's [ph.] Drug Store and we could get pineapple ice. And that was the most delicious thing I could ever wanna eat. And in Wilson we just saw black people. We really didn't interface with any white people at all, except if you went to a department store. We went with our Aunt Norma to Missionary Society at the A.M.E. Church with her meetings there. And then she taught Sunday schools on Sunday. And we always had company for Sunday dinner. And we were always dressed up in Wilson, whereas we were not dressed up in New Jersey. And there was this overwhelming smell of tobacco in Wilson. That was the big thing there, tobacco, tobacco, tobacco. And the people calling tobacco, and the tobacco warehouses. And there was churning. My aunt made homemade root beer in the backyard. She also cut up her own chickens. She would take them by the neck and ring 'em around and chop their necks. And it was--oh my God. That was just, you know in Newark you went in the grocery store and got a package of chicken. You didn't have to fix your own dinner quite that literally. And she was just fearless. And we'd take the eggs out of the inside of the chicken and put 'em in her gravy. And she was extremely organized. In the mornings, breakfast was ready. Then Uncle Ciell would go to work, and then she did her housework in her housecoat. And then when dinner came, everybody had their bath and we dressed for dinner. And we either went to somebody's house or had dinner at home. And we had no television there for a long time. Whereas we had television in, in New Jersey. But it was really a different existence, entirely. And everything was segregated, even the library. So I had almost read everything in the library for children in that children's section. And whereas in Montclair we had, you know, huge library. We--nothing was separated like that.$Now let's go back a little bit to the writing of 'Spoonbread & Strawberry Wine.'$$Okay.$$Now what--now this is something different from modeling or acting.$$Yes.$$And where did you get--how did you--were you inspired to do this and--$$Well I had no intentions of writing a cookbook, but the food editor who was Maxime McKendry [Maxime de la Falaise] at Vogue came along one day and a couple of black models was sitting together. And she asked what as our ethnic origin. And one model who was from Harlem [New York City, New York] said "Oh, I'm Arabic." I went what? This is news to me. And the next was saying well I'm part Swedish, I'm part this. And everybody just jumped into this I'm--someone in my family was Indian. So when they got to me, I said I guess I'm the only nigger here. And everything shut up. And I never use that word, it's not one of my favorite words. But it was just--it's just that everyone was being so evasive. And I said my grandfather was born a slave, and I have--so I guess I'm really homegrown. So she zeroed in on me and she said I bet you have an interesting cookbook. I went cookbook? That was the last thing on my mind. I was barely eating. So she said yes. I mean if you, if your family goes back that far, you must have very interesting recipes. And I said well we do. And I thought about the homemade ice cream, the pineapple sorbet that I'd had in the South and the homemade root beer Aunt Norma had made. And how she used to make her own rolls and, and Aunt Lizzie [ph.] made biscuits. And she was right. I did have a lot of recipes in my background that I hadn't even thought about and couldn't make myself. So I told my sister [Carole Darden] about this. And she said that she'd had a dream that we were working on a project together. And I told you she's Taurus and a social worker and I'm Scorpio and, and all over the place. And she said I dreamed we were doing a project together. She now claims this was her only prophetic dream. But we forgot about that. And then Maxine called me up at my house and she said I have a publisher for you and his name is Mr. Garden. And he wants to do your cookbook. So I called Mr. Garden and he told me to bring him a proposal. And the proposal would be a couple of recipes and how we would knit them together. So we wrote all of our relatives and asked them to send us recipes and we got from Cousin Em in Kentucky. We got a molasses pie from Ruby. And we got Aunt Norma to send us her magnificent eggplant. And then the rest of them didn't even write us. So we only had three recipes. And then out of the blue the 'New York Times' called me and said we understand you're writing a cookbook. Well we think that would be fabulous. Model writes cookbook. So they came to my apartment and took a picture of me and my cat with me making Aunt Norma's eggplant. And I only had three recipes, mind you. And they ran it in the 'New York Times.' So once they ran it in the 'Times,' Mr. Garden called me and said he was doing Pearl Bailey's cookbook and he couldn't possibly do two black cookbooks. So he wasn't interested. But he had us write up the proposals. So I had a proposal and I had the 'Times,' and another company called Liveright [Publishing Corporation] called and said they wanted to publish the cookbook. And they paid me five thousand dollars. So that was big money to get all at once on advance. So my sister and I got on Greyhound buses, planes, everything, and we went back south to interview our relatives and to find out what they liked to cook. But in finding out what they liked to cook, they told us about their lives, and they shared their photographs with us. And we came up with the first memoir cookbook. And that started a whole trend. 'Cause now you don't get a cookbook without pictures. And, but we were the first to do a memoir cookbook going back to slavery. And that set a trend for cookbooks. And we had not only the pictures and the stories and what the person was known for and the recipes. And Liveright went bankrupt. And so we got passed along to Doubleday. And our cookbook has been in print for thirty years, over thirty years. And we're now on [Amazon] Kindle.$$And that's a--that is quite a story.$$Well it's certainly true. I couldn't have made that one up.

James Paschal

Legendary Atlanta restaurateur James Paschal was born on October 8, 1920, in McDuffie County, Georgia, to Henry and Lizzie Paschal. Paschal started his first business, a shoeshine stand, at the age of thirteen, and at fifteen, he opened his first store; Paschal’s mother ran the business while he attended school during the day. The grocery store was such a success that the owners from whom Paschal rented the property reclaimed it, at which time he relocated the business and expanded it to include a meat market and entertainment center with a juke box. The new store was called James’ Place; it remained successful and stayed open for four years until he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941, the same year he graduated from McDuffie Training School.

In 1947, Paschal and his brother, Robert, opened a sandwich shop in Atlanta, Georgia, selling only sandwiches and sodas. The sandwich shop was so successful that they moved to a larger location on Martin Luther King Drive. In 1957, the Paschal Brothers opened Paschal’s Restaurant; the new facility included a full service restaurant, banquet rooms, a 120 room hotel, and a jazz club called La Carousel Lounge. Paschal’s Restaurant served as an important meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his associates would hold strategy meetings there and families would reunite with relatives who had been arrested in protest marches. The Paschal Brothers also posted the bond for many of the protestors.

In 1978, the Paschals joined Dobbs House, Inc. in a joint venture to create Dobbs-Paschal Midfield Corporation; this food service company won the bid for a fifteen year contract at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport in 1980. After the contracted expired, the Paschals continued to provide food service at the airport, partnering with Concessions International, which was owned by Herman J. Russell.

In 1996, they sold the restaurant and hotel to Clark Atlanta University. In 2002, Paschal and Herman J. Russell opened a new Paschal’s Restaurant in the Castleberry Hills area of Atlanta, near the Georgia Dome. Paschal was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Business; he was also inducted into the Atlanta Hospitality and Tourism Hall of Fame. Paschal’s story, as told to Mae A. Kendall, was presented in the autobiography Serving Up Hope and Freedom. Paschal passed away on November 28, 2008 at the age of 88.

Accession Number

A2007.117

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/28/2007

Last Name

Paschal

Maker Category
Schools

McDuffie County Training School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

McDuffie County

HM ID

PAS02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/8/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Death Date

11/28/2008

Short Description

Food service entrepreneur and restaurateur James Paschal (1920 - 2008 ) owned Paschal's Restaurtant, an important Atlanta, Georgia, meeting place during the Civil Rights Movement.

Employment

U.S. Armed Forces

Keystone Corporation

The Augusta Chronicle

James' Place

Paschal's Restaurant

Paschal's Concessions Inc.

Dobbs-Paschal's Midfield Corporation

Concessions/Paschal's, J.V.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:3500,33:19904,212:22820,275:23468,283:31650,357:41270,462:51010,548:51410,553:52210,563:56010,587:56470,592:61954,638:64450,670:82473,828:84510,847:85140,856:85680,864:86310,873:86670,878:88940,938:91140,961:96065,985:97010,998:110450,1166:119145,1238:132820,1355:136300,1364:138276,1387:149940,1484:162894,1622:165248,1656:182550,1795:196824,1984:208762,2126:211906,2162:212218,2167:223836,2342:224748,2352:226800,2386:248089,2688:252470,2747$0,0:16475,152:24830,263:36202,404:36732,410:37368,422:38110,435:44896,530:49894,572:57697,705:74542,894:79420,932:87160,1037:115555,1327:115975,1332:116815,1352:117655,1361:118075,1366:152010,1784:152717,1793:163168,1912:163598,1918:163942,1923:185306,2126:186426,2151:211971,2400:230355,2577:241120,2692:241535,2699:247012,2766:247420,2772:247930,2787:248338,2792:253540,2873:256930,2890
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Paschal's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Paschal lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Paschal remembers his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Paschal lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes his elementary school experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Paschal remembers his home life

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Paschal recalls his family's move to Thomson, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Paschal remembers moving to Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Paschal describes his basic training at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Paschal describes his position at the Pullman Company

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Paschal recalls opening Paschal's Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Paschal remembers the patrons of Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes the expansion of Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Paschal describes the role of Pascal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Paschal talks about his wife and son

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Paschal remembers Roswell O. Sutton

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Paschal describes the creation of Dobbs-Paschal Midfield Corporation

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Paschal describes his joint ventures at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Paschal talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Paschal describes his reasons for selling Paschal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Paschal describes the new Paschal's Restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Paschal describes the accommodations at the new Paschal's Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Paschal reflects upon his life

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Paschal describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Paschal talks about the integrated staff of Paschal's Restaurant

DASession

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DAStory

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DATitle
James Paschal describes James' Place in Thomson, Georgia, pt. 2
James Paschal describes the role of Pascal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
How long did you own the store?$$Well, we'll talk a little about while I was operating the store.$$Okay.$$I, I, I was--also my father [Henry Paschal] became ill and I had learned his work, so I would work at the hotel [Knox Hotel, Thomson, Georgia] in his place until he was able to come back to work and I used to work there and then come by the store and close up after my sister and, and my mother [Lizzie Demmons Paschal] had gone for the day. The store was quite successful and the owners, since I didn't have a lease, the owners decided that they wanted it back for themselves, so they asked me to vacate, but I had convinced a few people around, in, in the city, that I, I knew how to operate a store, so I convinced a businessman there, which was a funeral director to construct another building for me not too far from this one and I was still in school, still in high school [McDuffie County Training School, Thomson, Georgia]. This was a much larger building and I expanded that. We had fresh meat and sandwiches and groceries and we had the only music box, which we were referred to them at that time, was a jukebox. Since they were ran--since they were outlawed in the city, then we were right outside the city limits, so we were able to have a music machine that would take quarters and dimes and nickels and so I had a place to dance and I also had slot machines and some race horse machines. I hope I won't get picked up now, but at that time they wasn't legal in the city, but since I was right outside the city, I did operate them, that--the name of that was James' Place and it got to be the number one place around Thomson [Georgia] at that time. And in 1991 [sic.], I was inducted into the [U.S.] Army, the [U.S.] Armed Forces and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) In 1941?$$Nineteen forty-one [1941].$$Okay.$$Yes.$$So you graduated from high school what year?$$In 1941.$$So you graduated in 1941?$$Yes.$$And you went into the Army?$$In October of '41 [1941].$$So what happened to the business while you were in the Army?$$I sold out to the school principal and one of the other principals--and one of the other instructors who worked at the high school.$$Well let me ask you about the, the first grocery store, what was it called?$$James' Place [Thomson, Georgia].$$Okay, it was the same name?$$Right.$$And when the, the owners of that property wanted it back, did they pay you to take, to, to take over?$$For the stock?$$Um-hm.$$No. Well, we moved the stock into the new operation (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, you took it with you?$$Sure.$$So you were paying them rent to, to, to use--$$I was paying them rent.$$Okay.$$But in those days you didn't think too much about a lease, so we didn't--$$I see.$$--have a lease.$Well tell me, since we are talking about the '60s [1960s] and civil rights; tell me about your involvement in civil rights?$$We were very much involved with the Civil Rights Movement and can, can we go off for a minute?$$Sure.$$(TAPE INTERRUPTION)$$We would meet with the other people.$$Right, well let's, let's talk about that.$$Okay.$$Yeah, we want, we want to know about that, about--tell me, tell me about that?$$Yes, well, yes we were very much involved with the Civil Rights Movement and you would probably want to know how that got started. Well, in the early days before there were certain civil right laws passed, the black elected officials wasn't able to hold meetings in the downtown area, so they would all meet at Paschal's [Paschal's Motor Hotel and Restaurant, Atlanta, Georgia] and they would plan their strategy, what they would do the next day, or what they were going to do that day, so it got started then. And then after the Civil Rights Movement became, became active, the students use to meet at Paschal's before they would go to the downtown area to do the sit-ins for the purpose of being arrested. So hundreds of students at a time would be arrested and by the time they were fingerprinted and got released from jail it would be late into the night sometimes. The parents would come to Paschal's and wait until they had been released from jail. And of course my brother and I would always provide a hot meal for them after they had been released from jail. So, Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] had one of his headquarters at Paschal's. They met and planed several of their marches, like the Poor People's March [Poor People's Campaign] to march, to march across the E. Pettus Bridge [Edmund Pettus Bridge] in Alabama [Selma, Alabama] and the March on Washington. He and his lieutenants would meet there quite often. After a lot of the marches, a lot of the, the leaders would come back to Paschal's, to Paschal's Hotel and Restaurant to stay until they were ready to plan their next march. So, a lot, a lot, a lot of that, a lot of the Civil Rights Movement--and we, we bond a lot of people out of jail that, that was arrested. So--$$You personally, you and your brother?$$Yes.$$Tell me a little bit about your brother, Robert [Robert Paschal]?$$My brother Robert was, if I have to say so, and not just because he was my brother, he was the most, one of the most interesting and kindest people that I've ever met. He was friendly towards everybody. He loved the kitchen. We couldn't--I couldn't get him out of the kitchen while he was doing anything. So, he left all of the executive type work to me. It was really pretty difficult to get him out to take a vacation once a year. If he would go out with a plan to stay for a week, after three or four days I'd look up and see him back again. So, so he just loved his work. He was a wonderful person.

Leah "Dooky" Chase

Leah Chase, "the Queen of Creole Cuisine," was born January 6, 1923, in New Orleans, Louisiana, of Catholic Creole parents. She was sent to New Orleans in 1937 to live with her aunt and to attend St. Mary's Academy for high school. Her first job out of school was at the Oriental Laundry in the French Quarter. A week later, Chase was hired by the Colonial Restaurant on Chartres Street. She has been in the restaurant industry ever since.

In 1945, she met and married musician Edgar "Dooky" Chase II, whose parents owned the Dooky Chase Restaurant. At first, Chase spent her time raising her children and sewing, but once the children were old enough to attend school she began to work at the restaurant three days a week. She changed the menu to serve hot meals at lunchtime to black men who were beginning to work in offices. She started out as a hostess, but she was soon redecorating the restaurant and working as chef. Because of Chase, the Dooky Chase Restaurant is known for its good food, antiques and original African American art.

Chase has received many awards both for her culinary genius and her community service including: the coveted New Orleans Times Picayune 1997 Loving Cup Award, the Weiss Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Torch of Liberty Award, the University of New Orleans Entrepreneurship Award, the Outstanding Woman Award from the National Council of Negro Women, and numerous honors from the NAACP. She serves on many organizational boards including the Arts Council of New Orleans, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Urban League. Chase is a frequent guest on many of the televised cooking shows and was visiting culinary professor at Nichols State University in 1996. She has four children, sixteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Selected Bibliography
Chase, Leah. The Dooky Chase cookbook. Gretna : Pelican Pub. Co., 1990.
-------Down home healthy: family recipes of Black American chefs. Bethesda, Maryland: National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 1994.
-------And I Still Cook. Gretna : Pelican Pub. Co., 2003.

Accession Number

A2002.199

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/15/2002

Last Name

Chase

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

A Whizz Kids Preschool Inc Ii

St. Mary Academy

St. Francis Xavier

First Name

Leah

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

CHA03

Favorite Season

None

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fort Wayne, Indiana

Favorite Quote

Whatever You're Going to Do, You Better Do it and Enjoy Life.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Birth Date

1/6/1923

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Food

Short Description

Chef and restaurateur Leah "Dooky" Chase (1923 - ) is famous for her Creole-style cooking, and was proprietor of the Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans.

Employment

Colonial Restaurant

Dooky Chase Restaurant

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Leah Chase's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Leah Chase lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Leah Chase talks about her family's history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Leah Chase talks about her ancestry

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Leah Chase describes her Creole ancestry and the contributions of Creoles

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about Patois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Leah Chase describes her father, Charles Lange

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Leah Chase talks about her family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Leah Chase describes how her parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Leah Chase describes her mother, Hortensia Lange

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Leah Chase describes the sights, smells, and sounds of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Leah Chase talks about her parents' value for education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her Catholic education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Leah Chase describes her role models

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Leah Chase describes her childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about her first jobs after high school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about her husband Dooky Chase and the Sandwich Shop

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Leah Chase describes implementing changes at Dooky Chase's Restaurant, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Leah Chase describes implementing changes at Dooky Chase's Restaurant, pt.2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Leah Chase describes her relationship with her mother-in-law, Emily Chase

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her battle to add art to Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Leah Chase talks about featuring the art of Jacob Lawrence, Jonathan T. Biggers, Clifton Webb, Lois Mailou Jones, and HistoryMakers Elizabeth Catlett, Jonathan Green, David Driskell, William Pajaud

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Leah Chase describes her food and the chef community in New Orleans

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about New Orleans chef Austin Leslie and managing restaurants

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Leah Chase talks about popular menu items and the hours of operation at Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Leah Chase talks about Dooky Chase's Restaurant as a meeting place for civil rights organizations SNCC and COFO and activists like Oretha Castle Haley, James Baldwin, and Thurgood Marshall

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Leah Chase talks about Dutch Morial, the first black mayor of New Orleans

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Leah Chase describes her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Leah Chase talks about her honors including the NAACP A.P. Tureaud Medal, the Loving Cup, and the Ella Brennan Savoir Faire Award

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Leah Chase reflects upon her family's support and how they view her success

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Leah Chase reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Leah Chase talks about how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

4$7

DATitle
Leah Chase describes her food and the chef community in New Orleans
Leah Chase talks about Dooky Chase's Restaurant as a meeting place for civil rights organizations SNCC and CORE and activists like Oretha Castle Haley, James Baldwin, and Thurgood Marshall
Transcript
Can you tell me about the food, and what makes the food here so special?$$Well because, because I do most of the food myself. I love it, and I love to--I live and breathe food. I, I like to work with food, and I learned one thing--that you cook what you're all about; I could make any kind of cream sauce you want, any kinda--but is that me? People don't come here for that; they come here for me, for what my culture's all about, like stewed okra, string beans, gumbos, beans and rice if you will, or shrimp creole--that kind of thing; they don't look for all the other trendy things, they come here to get a good meal and a good--and when they tell you, "That's just like my grandma," I love it because I know I've done well; if I can cook as good as your grandmother, I have done well. So I try to do that all the time, and you stretch out and do different things at different times, and try different things, but basically, you stay with what you are, and that's, and that's what it's all about. The people in New Orleans [Louisiana], other restaurant owners in New Orleans have been good to me, and that's one thing you will find in New Orleans that you may not find anywhere else--that chefs kinda work together; they work with you, they--if you ask them--I mean if you go to Emeril [Lagasse]'s and you say, "Well, where can I get this?" He'll say, "Well, you go to Leah for that," or I'll tell you, "You go to Paul Prudhomme for that." Like people come here, "Can you blacken me some fish?" "No. I'm not blackenin' anything; I'm the only black thing in my kitchen, I'm not doin' any blackened fish; that's not what I'm all about; Paul does that, that's his thing, you go to Paul to get that." And that--and that's what you do. And people have been real--the chefs have been extraordinary to me; really, really good to me because I'm not certified, I'm not formally trained like they are, but they include me in everything, and we work together, and I learn from them, and it's fun.$Yeah, okay. And this place has another significance in addition to the food and the ambience; it's been a place where black people have met to plan and develop (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Well, because you see--as I said, we've been here 60--what--62, almost 63 years, and it was one place where people met even in segregation days when it was really illegal for blacks and white to congregate in public together anywhere; that was truly illegal. Well, here, if the politicians had to meet black people, this is where they had to meet 'em unless they would go in somebody's church, but this is where they had to meet them here. A lotta things--people come here and get things started and have meetings and go on because it was--and it still is, they still do that; they still come here. If they wanna meet with people, they come and meet over lunch or dinner or somethin' like that.$$Yeah, we heard a couple of days ago that SNCC used to meet here, and CORE was formed here, I think. CORE was formed right here at Dooky Chase.$$Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, because we had a woman workin' for us--Virgie [Castle], and Virgie was from Tennessee, but her daughter was big in the Civil Rights Movement; they have a street named after her--Oretha Castle Haley, and Oretha was big in the civil rights movement, and Virgie was an exceptional woman; why I say that, because Virgie--Virgie wasn't like me--she wasn't like a Leah, you know, she was supportive of what they were doin'; she didn't understand it, like none of us understood what the heck they're doin'; they in the streets, they paradin' in the streets, they, they sitting down, they're bein' dragged off to jail--you kinda didn't understand why, or you didn't understand was it worth this. But Virgie was always supportive of that, and she lived around the corner; I think they tryin' to make her house a historic space, and they should because everybody was there--James Baldwin--they would go there and then come here to eat. Everybody either slept at Virgie's house--I know took a bath there 'cause when they'd come outta jail I'd say, "Ayyy, go to Virgie's; go take a bath and come back here" (laughter). "You mean you gonna put me out?" I say, "Go take a bath at Virgie's and come back here, and I'll feed you" (laughter). So that was then. But she was very supportive of what her children were doing. As I said, she maybe didn't--she didn't understand, but she wasn't anti-anything, and it was hard for her because police were all around her house all the time; it was just hard, it was really hard for her.$$This is Virgie--what's her last name?$$Castle.$$Castle--Virgie Castle.$$Mm-hmm (ph.). And her daughter was Oretha Castle$$Could you spell that?$$Oretha, O-R-E-T-H-A.$$And Virgie?$$V-I-R-G-I-E.$$And Castle?$$C-A-S-T-L-E. And Oretha married a man name--[Richard] Haley was his last name. What was his first name? I, I just don't remember, but he was another bright man, really brilliant man, and did a lot of work, and was very supportive of his wife in her civil rights actions and what she did. And you know, we used to be--like Thurgood Marshall would come through here and he was workin' with the NAACP; in my age, that's what people were doing; we gonna work in the system, we gonna work this way with the NA--but you realize that that was so slow; we would still be today tryin' to get it done. Sometimes you have to take drastic moves, just go at it, and that's what those young people did--they just took those drastic moves and run it. Sometimes it was wrong moves, but that's okay; you, you had to get it done in some ways, and they were able to get it done--that we would've not been able to get it done workin' the slow system we were workin' at, you know? It was not--you know, they were not gonna--we were not gonna make anybody understand where we were coming from. Now, I think we could go a different route; I think the job of the NAACP now--I think it's a pity we still need it; it's just a pity that we still need the NAACP, Urban League and all those kinds of organizations. But now, it should be an educational thing--teach people how to vote, how to vote for the right people, how to vote not necessarily for your friend, but for the man who's gonna move everything a step higher, for the man who's gonna move the country, for the man who's gonna move your city and involve you and involve everybody, and that, that's their job today. I think it should be a lot on education and how we ought to go about thing.