Speaking of Chicken…

More Food Folklore

Who dat say chicken in dis cro... Digital ID: 1256054. New York Public Library

Who dat say chicken in dis crowd / words by Paul Laurence Dunbar ; music by Will. Marion. ([c1898]) NYPL Digital Gallery.

In “Building Houses out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, And Power” Psyche A. Williams-Forson discusses the multiple roles of chicken in the lives of African-Americans–as a source of food and a source of income–and the negative imagery associated with chicken, from chicken thieving to cock fighting.


African women, as Frederick Douglass Opie (2011) reminds us, playeda seminal role of  in colonial America as entrepreneurs.”  “African women came from a tradition in which they controlled local markets and the sale of produce, grains, and herbs as well as prepared foods.”

According to Williams-Forson, European slave traders took Africans “from certain regions according to their specific knowledge, …” [and skills]. “They were taken to Brazil and the Caribbean to build the sugar industry, to the Carolinas for rice cultivation, and to the Chesapeake colonies for harvesting tobacco, among other crops, cotton being the eventual mainstay of United States economic export.”

Our love/hate relationship with chicken finds expression in folktales, song and dance, and in the stereotypical images of American popular culture.

“Who Dat Say Chicken in Dis Crowd”  by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Funky chicken

All I eat is chicken necks and chicken feet

Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, And Rastus: African-American Stereotypes In Advertising – 09 Mar 2012


Jemima’s Revenge”  cut paper & acrylic on large canvas 2010 - Pierre Bennu

Jemima’s Revenge” cut paper & acrylic on large canvas 2010 - Pierre Bennu

Do Your Food Products Have Racist Roots? by Nadra Kareem Nittle, About.com Guide.

 For more Food Folklore see my blog post Food Folklore

For more on food culture and politics see Food for Thought


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About Storymama01

Professional Storyteller, Blogger, Teaching Folk Artist, Cultural Curator, Consultant, History Lover, Humanist
Aside | This entry was posted in arts and culture, culture and politics, storytelling and folklore and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Speaking of Chicken…

  1. Pingback: Food Folklore | storymama01

  2. Pingback: FOOD FOR THOUGHT | storymama01

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