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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Ballery Tyrone Bully

Bully's Restaurant

Ballery Tyrone Bully opened Bully’s Restaurant in 1982, with the help of his father. They built Bully’s from the ground up, literally. The brick restaurant was Tyrone’s last masonry project before moving full-time into the kitchen. Now, he serves some of Jackson’s best soul food to hundreds of customers each day. Most customers call in orders to go, but others prefer to dine in the restaurant on cafeteria trays. Whatever their preference, Mr. Bully appreciates their support and takes pride in delivering good food to his community.

Over the years, he’s hosted musicians recording at nearby Malaco Records. He’s served politicians—city councilmen, state representatives, and even Jesse Jackson during his campaign for president. The restaurant is used as a gathering place for community groups and politicos, and the dining room walls proudly display photos of civil rights heroes, NAACP leaders, and members of the Mississippi Black Caucus. His commitment to customers is evidenced by his hard work. He begins his day in the kitchen at 6 a.m., and works dishing up food and ringing up orders until the very last customer is served and Bully’s closes its doors at 6:30 in the evening.

*Go here to view more interviews from Bully’s Restaurant.

Date of interview:

Mary Beth Lasseter

Mary Beth Lasseter & Kimber Thomas

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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