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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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Angelish Wilson

Wilson’s Soul Food

M. C. Wilson worked for the railroad in Colbert, Georgia, and cut hair on the side to make extra money. In 1954 he retired from the railroad and opened Wilson’s Styling Shop on Hull Street in downtown Athens, a part of town known as Hot Corner for its century-long history of being a hub for African American-owned businesses. Ten years later, M. C.’s wife passed, and he moved the family to Athens. In 1981 another space on Hull Street became available, so M. C. purchased it and opened a café, Wilson’s Soul Food. He recruited his second wife, Elizabeth Wilson, and his daughter, Angelish, to cook.

Today, Angelish is at the helm of the family’s soul food empire, cooking collards and cobblers from scratch and serving up some serious soul to the community. She prides herself not only on the quality of her ingredients, but on the connections she makes with her customers. While Angelish tends to the family restaurant, her brother, Homer, mans the barber’s chair next door at Wilson’s Styling Shop. And their father still heads to Hull Street to visit his children for lunch and a haircut.

We’re sad to report that Wilson’s Soul Food closed its doors on October 3, 2011.

Date of interview:

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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