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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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Mattie Smith

Mattie Smith

Mattie Smith, originally from Minter City, Mississippi, began her cooking career in her grandmother’s kitchen. When she moved to Greenwood in 1984, she cooked at the cafeteria inside the local Piggly Wiggly. Soon she began to have dreams of opening her own place, and in 1997 she made that happen. What Mattie serves is soul food, pure and simple: fried chicken, catfish, neck bones, yams and collard greens. Serving breakfast and lunch during the week, Mattie has a different menu for each day, and her most popular day is Tuesday. If you come early, you can get meatloaf, chicken and dumplings and broccoli casserole. And don’t forget the bread pudding! Mattie loves what she does, and she loves her customers. And while the restaurant itself is a modest place, the big tables, soap operas playing on the television and friendly atmosphere make it place where you’ll definitely want to become a regular.

Mattie’s closed in 2008.

Date of interview:
2003-06-11 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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