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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

< Back to Oral History project: Hot Tamale Trail


John Williams Jr.

John Williams, Jr., cousin to the late Joe Pope of Rosedale, grew up eating hot tamales at Joe’s Hot Tamale Place. Like his cousin, John saw selling hot tamales as a way to make extra money. In 1999, D&L Manufacturing closed its doors, and John was out of a job. To make ends meet, he developed his own tamale recipe and set up shop on South Street in Cleveland, Mississippi. John credits his years as a foreman at D&L to his mastery of hot tamale production. With his son and daughter at his side, John fills and rolls about forty dozen shuck-wrapped tamales an hour. Soon, John hopes to standardize his recipe for manufacture and sell John’s Homestyle Hot Tamales in stores around the country.

Date of interview:
2005-06-23 00:00

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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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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