In June of 1964, the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi became synonymous with the murders of Civil Rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. While the citizens of Philadelphia today recognize the historical significance of their town’s past, they also take pride in what makes their home special in the present. In this series of five short films, underwritten by Whole Foods Market, Joe York takes us deeper into the Philadelphia, Mississippi of 2014.
Hominy & Fry Bread
For Misty Brecia Dreifuss, cooking traditional foods outside is key to maintaining a sense of identity and community within the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. During a community gathering, many hands work together to cook the dishes, then those hands join to pray before digging into the meal. To learn more about Choctaw tribe in Mississippi, visit their website.
Peggy Webb opened her house to diners in 1961, setting up a small buffet in the hallway and a dining room with community seating. More than 50 years later, customers still fix their own plates and pay for their meal by leaving cash in a basket on the table.
Beason Family Farm
Beason Family Farm, established by Shelby and Marlo Beason less than two years ago, has already become a staple in Philadelphia, Mississippi. With mostly local clientele, the diary farm keeps consumer dollars in the community and connects the consumer to the producer. Customers purchase Beason Family Farm products at local stores and restaurants or at the farm’s small storefront, where they make their own change on the honor system.
Lillie Johnson knows the importance of slowing down and fixing a “decent” meal at least once a week with her family. Her restaurant, Lillie’s Kitchen, is open everyday for lunch, and also for breakfast on Saturdays. You’ll find pork chops, fried chicken, chicken spaghetti, and just about every southern side dish you can think of.
For Kenneth Thompson and his son Johnny, what started as a hobby eventually grew into a thriving family-owned business. The Thompsons keep over 400 production hives and feed their bees with “whatever God provides.” Since they don’t use pesticides, chemicals or medications, and they don’t heat, filter or add anything to the honey they harvest, their product is “just the way it comes out of the comb.”