Project Director

Howard-Baptiste, Shewanee

Department Examiner

Hamilton, Kara


Dept. of Health and Human Performance


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Cultures can be influenced by a number of different factors, one of the most notable being food. Cultural food staples have often traveled from their country of origin of to be integrated into the cuisine of another. African slaves for example, used their knowledge of their West African heritage to forage soul food, a well know cuisine in the American South. The adaptations made to food practices during slavery decreased the nutritional value of the previously healthy West African dishes. After creating a relatively unhealthy food culture through slavery, African Americans continued to face persecution at the hands of the government and society at large. Through the institutionalized racism brought about during the Jim Crow era, African Americans were forced into conditions that juristically reduced their access to resources, like adequate housing and education. The lack of housing and education in the African American community inherently breeds poverty, ultimately affecting access to healthy food resources. Although their food access cannot be immediately influenced, the Oldways African Heritage Diet Pyramid will allow African Americans to capitalize on their food culture while utilizing their poor food access. By understanding the food practices of Africans during the 16th century, the researcher will trace the lineage of African food tendencies to the patterns of food choices for African Americans in the US today. The purpose of this research is to shed light on the history of African American food patterns in the United States and how through institutionalized racism African Americans have come to face a higher prevalence of chronic disease.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




African Americans -- Nutrition; Food supply; Health and race


African American; Chronic disease; Institutionalized racism; Food; Culture slavery


Public Health

Document Type



56 leaves




Under copyright.


Included in

Public Health Commons