This year, SFA is marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by bringing themes of inclusion and exclusion to center stage. This week’s film, The Welcome Table, shines the spotlight on two Montgomery, Alabama women who used their food to nourish and strengthen their community during the struggle for civil rights and since.
In the 1950s, Georgia Gilmore helped to sustain the participants of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by selling her food to raise funds for their meetings. Her home, which she operated as a restaurant without a license, became a hub where the local community and civil right leaders gathered both to dine and to collaborate. In the same spirit, and inspired by Gilmore, Martha Hawkins opened Martha’s Place in Montgomery in 1988. Local community members describe Hawkins as someone who carries on Gilmore’s legacy of uniting a love for food with a love for people.
It seems what both women shared, and what others have seen in them, is the potential that food has to facilitate community and progress, particularly when it’s made—and shared—with love.