Honoring Soul Food’s Shenandoah Valley History and Chefs

This special day at Belle Grove will feature talks and activities celebrating Soul Food and honoring African American chefs of the Shenandoah Valley. The event is free and open to the public, but a $10 per person ticket is required for the Meal and Honoring Ceremony. Due to space limitations, tickets are only being sold by the event's partners and friends including: Belle Grove Plantation, Shenandoah Valley Black Heritage Project, Harrisonburg-Rockingham County NAACP, The Josephine School Community Museum, and Mr. John Hill.

One highlight of the day will be the release of Send Judah First: The Erased Life of an Enslaved Soul by Dr. Brian Johnson and published by The Hidden Shelf Publishing House. This historical novel was inspired by the life of Judah, an enslaved cook at Belle Grove from 1817 until her death in April 1836. History has all but erased her existence as only a few records tell us about her life. Dr. Johnson’s important work of historical fiction goes beyond what is recorded to portray the depth, humanity, and vulnerability of an innocent girl trapped in a world she did not choose. Through Judah, Dr. Johnson honors the millions of nameless and faceless souls forced into slavery, who would be otherwise forgotten. For Judah “did the ultimate—she survived. Not as a weakling, but resilient and determined.”

 

Program and Schedule
10:00am-4pm: Belle Grove Manor House Open for Touring
10:00am-1:00pm: Book Signing with Brian Johnson Author of Send Judah First: The Erased Life of an Enslaved Soul published by The Hidden Shelf Publishing House about Belle Grove’s enslaved cook (Lower Level Manor House)
10:00-10:45am: "Kneading in Silence: A Glimpse into the Life of the Enslaved Cook Judah" interpretive program by Ranger Shannon Moeck, Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (Kitchen on Lower Level of Manor House)
10:45-11:00am: Break
11:00-11:45am: Presentation about the Archaeology of the Belle Grove Enslaved Quarters and What the Findings Reveal about Their Foodways by Archaeologists Matthew Greer and Scott Oliver (Lower Level of Manor House)
11:45-Noon: Break
Noon-12:45pm: "Soul Food" a presentation by Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown, Mary Baldwin University (Lower Level of Manor House)
12:45-1:00pm: Break
1:00-2:45pm: Meal and Honoring Ceremony (Upper Level of the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center in the 1918 Barn) (TICKET REQUIRED)
   Including: Blessings by Reverend Harold L. Brown, Sr.; Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Front Royal, VA; Music by Annie Toles; and Poetry by Brianna Madden-Olivares
  Honoring:
     • Savilla Vickers, 1906-1980, Caterer in Harrisonburg, VA
     • Taylor Family, Chefs and Caterers in Staunton, VA
     • Lloyd Tutt and M. Tutt, Managers of Lewis Mountain in the Shenandoah National Park
     • Henry Stewart, 1894-1978, and the Howard family, Chefs in Harrisonburg, VA including Fridells Restaurant and the Kavanaugh Hotel
     • Mrs. Gant and family, Chefs at the Wayside Inn, Middletown, VA
     • The Newman family, Chefs at Wayside Inn, Middletown, VA
     • Mr. Jesse Curry, Chef in the Winchester, VA area
     • Mrs. Geneva Jackson, Caterer in Berryville, VA
     • The Newman family, Chefs at Wayside Inn, Middletown, VA
     • Chef Catherine W. Dunn, 1920-2010, Belle Meade Red Carpet Inn and Lloyd’s Steak House of Harrisonburg, VA
     • Dr. Brian C. Johnson, Author of Send Judah First: The Erased Life of an Enslaved Soul
   With Special Recognition of:
     • Chef Jerome Grant of Sweet Home Café, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.
2:45-4:00pm: Book Signing with Brian Johnson Author of Send Judah First: The Erased Life of an Enslaved Soul published by The Hidden Shelf Publishing House about Belle Grove’s enslaved cook (Museum Shop in the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center in the 1918 Barn)
2:45-3:00pm: Break
3:00-3:30pm: Open Discussion: Remembering The Valley’s Green Book Restaurants and Inn (Upper Level of the Beverley B. Shoemaker Welcome Center in the 1918 Barn)

Thank you to our sponsors: