Phil Parker | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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: Sorghum: Southern Sugars


Phil Parker

Parker Homestead

Phil Parker, born in 1955, grew up in the community of Whitehall, Arkansas. Growing up in the Arkansas Delta, Parker hunted ducks and fished for crappie on the L’Anguille River. He spent much time with his grandparents, Henry and Bertie Sue Parker. As a young man, his grandfather taught him how to hunt and fish. Parker was a brick mason. He got into cooking sorghum when a friend wanted to start cooking sorghum syrup. When he retired, he took up cooking sorghum as a full time hobby.

He and his wife, Teresa, showcase the process of cooking sorghum to the public at their annual event, Parker Homestead Days. Every fall, hundreds of people come to Whitehall to tour the Parkers’ reconstructed cabins and see Mr. Parker cook sorghum. Vendors set up food stalls and craft demonstrations. The highlight of each homestead day is Mr. Parker’s stall where he cooks sorghum over a wood-fired pit.

Date of interview:

Annemarie Anderson

Annemarie Anderson

Download Transcript



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.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.