An Alabama archive recovers a cookbook and the stories of a Black community

Trinity faculty, 1923
Trinity faculty, 1923
Photo: courtesy Limestone County Digital Archives

As part of its Black History Month observance last month, the Limestone County Digital Archives in Alabama began digitizing and sharing recipes from a community cookbook published in 1962 to support Trinity High School in Athens, which was, for more than a century (1865-1970), the only high school for Black students in the county. But not only that, the archivists researched the people who had contributed those recipes and shared their stories on the archives’ Facebook page.

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AL.com, a website that covers Alabama news, listed some of the highlights:

There is old time eggnog from Coach Thomas House, who supported the school’s football team in 1962 when they refused to play until the school system replaced their tattered uniforms.

There are the doughnuts from Josephine Woodson, who in 1967 was the first Black teacher at Tanner High School.

There is “party beef dinner” from Athelstine Hinton, who helped raise funds for polio research.

The stories on the Facebook page go into much greater detail, and often commenters jump in to add their own stories or just to say how much those cookbook contributors—most of whom were teachers or coaches—contributed to the community. It’s really nice to read about how people are remembered for all the ways they made their town a better place, just by being there and doing their jobs, treating their students with respect and looking out for them when no one else would. If nothing else, read the story of Coach House, who fought the football uniform battle for four years and stood up for civil disobedience.

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.

DISCUSSION

jalapenoman
Jalapenoman

Went to the actual archives to check out the recipes.... Could not find them. Old community recipes can be interesting, and show more of what was popular at the time and place, was hoping to get a link to browse that wasn't Facebook. I think the archives need to work on tagging and uploading the images on the main site.