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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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Cherokee Drive Inn

The Cherokee Drive Inn is so old that — with its numerous locations, owners, and iterations — no one knows for sure who, when, or where it was founded. But since at least the 1940s, and perhaps as far back as the 1920s, the Cherokee has remained a landmark Jackson bar and eatery. There are hamburgers, fried pickles, and beer. There are families on the weekends, and old-timers on weeknights.

Blake and Hayes McMillan came to the Cherokee on their second date. The new couple had no idea that they would buy the cozy dive bar and eatery years later. Since taking over in 2006, Blake and Hayes have won over the legion of Cherokee fans by keeping everything much like it has always been. There is football on the television, fresh ground and grilled burgers, Comeback dressing for dipping, and lots of cold, cold beer.

The Cherokee Drive Inn closed in May 2015.

Date of interview:

Rien Fertel

Rien Fertel

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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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