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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.

ORAL HISTORY

Caroline Coke


Island Grocery & Restaurant

Caroline Coke, a former chemist turned entrepreneur, is co-owner of Island Grocery & Grill which she runs with her husband, sister, and brother-in-law. Born in Jamaica in the parish of St. James, Ms. Coke grew up with a strong sense of family and community. When she moved to the United States at thirteen, she experienced what it was like to be away from the culture so deeply embedded into her being, away from her neighbors, and the village that raised her. In New Jersey, where she first landed, Ms. Coke found Jamaican enclaves with the comforts of home. She eventually settled in Charlotte, and once again sought out island comforts but could find none. To fill that need, she opened Island Grocery & Grill with her family and recreates the sights, sounds and smells of island life through food, music, and Caribbean staples.

Date of interview:
2017-03-24

Interviewer:
Keia Mastrianni

Photographer:
Peter Taylor

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