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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 annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Jackie Baity

Busy Bee Cafe

Jackie Baity was born in Atlanta in 1954. She began working at the Busy Bee Cafe in the late 1980s. Founded in 1947, the Busy Bee Café has succeeded because the business has adapted as the city has changed. Baity has frequently adapted, too, to suit the needs of her customers. Regulars often request ‘Ms. Jackie’ as their server. Her pastor is one of her regulars. Baity knows his order of whiting fish, turnip greens, and candied yams by heart.

Busy Bee owner Tracy Gates works hard to retain key employees. Baity says that’s the treason she’s stayed on staff for so long. She has long enjoyed tending to the diverse customers who sit in her section. In 2016, to spend more time with her children and with friends in her church choir, Baity reduced her work schedule from six days a week to three.

Date of interview:

Henri Hollis

Henri Hollis

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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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