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Slavery, Rice and South Carolina

Judy, one of our researchers, sent this site. It is quite interesting. 

donated to site by Roberta Estes



Rice and Slavery: A Fatal Gold Seede
Jean M. West

On New Year's Day, many Americans, especially those with southern origins, eat a dish combining black-eyed peas and rice called "Hoppin' John." It's supposed to bring good luck since people who "eat poor New Year's Day, eat rich the rest of the year." Most would be surprised to learn that rice is not a plant native to the New World. They would be even more surprised to learn that the dish has roots in tragedy rather than in luck. In Alexander Falconbridge's 1788 narrative, An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa, he describes food served during the Middle Passage and reports, "The diet of the negroes, while on board, consists chiefly of horse-beans, boiled to the consistence of pulp; boiled yams and rice, and sometimes a small quantity of beef or pork." How did rice come to the New World, and why is its New World history intertwined with slavery?  

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