A Charleston Feast for Reconciliation

The city of Charleston and Emanuel AME Church are hosting twelve days of events commemorating the Emanuel Nine, victims of the shooting at Emanuel on June 17, 2015. We join them in spirit. This podcast was originally released on July 2, 2015. Listen here.

by Tina Antolini

Charleston, South Carolina has become the center of discussions about race and violence in America these past few weeks. The massacre of nine African American parishioners at a historic black church there has prompted a national discussion and collective soul-searching: how did this happen in 2015? What work still needs to be done to prevent this sort of racial hatred and terrorism?

But Charleston is also home to a historical bright spot, a moment from 150 years ago that is still inspiring South Carolinians today. In 1865, at the end of the Civil War, an unusual dinner party was held in Charleston that brought white and black residents together. In this episode of Gravy, producer Philip Graitcer brings us the story of that dinner, and how it’s still resonating today.

Chef Kevin Mitchell at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015 with guests Katie DePoppe and Thetyka Robinson. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.
Chef Kevin Mitchell at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015 with guests Katie DePoppe and Thetyka Robinson. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

You can read more about Professor David Shields’ work, and find a link to his book about the history and revival of Southern food here.

David Shields at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.
David Shields at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

You can learn more about Chef Kevin Mitchell, who took on the role of Nat Fuller at the 2015 dinner, here.

Chef Kevin Mitchell at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.
Chef Kevin Mitchell at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

You can read the essays written by the winners of the Post & Courier’s contest to select diners to join the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015 here.

Essay winner Sheila Anderson reads a poem at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.
Essay winner Sheila Anderson reads a poem at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.

You can learn more about former slave-turned-chef Nat Fuller here.

Charlotte Russe Cake at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.
Charlotte Russe Cake at the Nat Fuller Feast of 2015. Photo by Jonathan Boncek.