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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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Moises Lemus & Juan Leon

El Agave

Moises Lemus was born in Jalisco, Mexico on August 25, 1989, and migrated with his family in 2000, at the age of eight years old. They lived in Nashville for a few months before moving to New Albany, Mississippi. Juan Leon was born in Mexico on November 16, 1978. In 2012, the business partners opened El Agave Mexican Grill in New Albany, Mississippi. In 2016, they expanded their brand and opened a second store in Oxford, Mississippi. Lemus and Leon discuss cultural preservation, adjusting to life in the south, the growth of the Latino population, and their experiences working in the restaurant industry.


Moisés Lemus nació en Jalisco, México el 25 de agosto de año 1989, e inmigró con su familia en el 2000, a la edad de ocho años. Vivieron en Nashville por unos cuantos meses antes de mudarse a New Albany, Mississippi. Juan León nació en México el 16 de noviembre del año 1978. En el 2012, los compañeros de negocio abrieron El Agave Mexican Grill en New Albany, Mississippi. El el año 2016, ellos ampliaron su marca y abrieron un segundo restaurante en Oxford, Mississippi. Lemus y León discuten el mantenimiento de la cultura, el adaptarse a la vida en el Sur, el crecimiento de la población latina y sus experiencias trabajando en la industria alimentaria.

Date of interview:

Simone Delerme

Chelsea Loper

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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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