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Gumbo, And Georgia's Club From Nowhere

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Earlier this month, the AP ran an article: Dooky Chase Gumbo Fueled Civil Rights Movement.

At the famed Dooky Chase Restaurant, where veterans of the civil rights movement still recall making plans to change the world over bowls of gumbo, black and white foodies now line up for Leah Chase's Creole cooking. Back before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, however, some customers had to enter discreetly and meet secretly. In the 1950s and '60s, as the movement gained steam, many of its leaders dined at the restaurant, then used a back room for meetings.


It was here that plans were drawn up to help the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stage sit-ins and to shelter others trying to further the cause of racial equality.


Now, Dooky Chase Restaurant, run by Leah Chase and her husband, Edgar "Dooky" Chase Jr., is among a dwindling number of civil rights landmarks remaining in New Orleans.
"I feel like in this restaurant we changed the course of the world over bowls of gumbo," said Leah Chase. "That's how we always did the planning -- over gumbo."


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"I've seen a great change," Chase said. "People tell me, well it's still a long way from perfect, but I say, 'Of course it is, this isn't heaven it's earth, and nothing is perfect here.'"


Not a restaurant, but in Montgomery, Georgia Gilmore was famous for feeding others from her home...and the proceeds going to fuel the movement:


The sign reads:

Georgia Gilmore
February 5, 1920 - March 3, 1990
Georgia Gilmore, cited as a "solid, energetic boycott participant and supporter" lived in this house during the days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Once arrested on a bus, Gilmore was ardent in her efforts to raise funds for the Movement and organized "Club From Nowhere" whose members baked pies and cakes for sale to both black and white customers. Opening her home to all, she tirelessly cooked meals for participants including such leaders as Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Ralph Abernathy. Her culinary skills continued to aid the cause of justice as she actively worked to encourage civil rights for the remainder of her life.

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