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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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Doug Walker

Doug Walker believes in the virtues of “laying down food,” tasty and substantial Southern fare that makes you want to lie down and take a nap. Slow-smoked barbecue sandwiches, beans and slaw, and super-sweet tea so thick, “you can use it on your pancakes.”

Clyde Gridley stated Gridley’s in 1975. Seeking to revolutionize the barbecue-experience, he added white tablecloths and tuxedoed servers. But after the tragic death of the young Mr. Gridley, the restaurant floundered for several decades.

Though only in the barbecue business since 2006, Mr. Walker has high-hopes for this once-cherished Memphis institution. Minus the tablecloths and tuxedoes, he aims to bring Gridley’s back to what its namesake started.


Date of interview:
2008-07-16 00:00

Rien T. Fertel

Rien T. 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.


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