In search of freedom...

Marimba Ani tells us “Culture is a means by which a people protects themselves... [it] is the immune system of a people.” Culture builds and establishes family, community, connection, identity and self-worth. As people of the African diaspora, we have had many aspects of our culture including language, song, traditions and foods systematically stripped from us. In an attempt to reclaim some of our cultural productions and connections, we offer Our Mothers' Kitchens.

The conversations, both spoken and unspoken, that take place in the kitchen are rich with details of our past and lessons for our future. With Our Mothers’ Kitchens we employ food and literature as a means to deepen our understanding of our heritage, our culture and ourselves. By ingesting -reciting, memorizing and dissecting- the work of some of our great women storytellers, we are aligning with the African oral traditions that have been often times passed over by younger generations. We invite black folk (and their allies) into our kitchen where they will not merely be fortifying their body’s immune system; but fortifying the immune system of our community. What is learned in this kitchen will exceed culinary and writing skills.

In the writing of Smart-Grosvernor, Shange, Hurston and Walker black folk will see reflections of themselves, their experiences, their culture and heritage. It is our hope that in search of their mothers kitchens, they will find their own.

Photography provided by Khaliah D. Pitts