Scholar Jessica Harris to discuss role of food in Civil Rights movement

Jessica Harris (Photo provided)


Dr. Jessica B. Harris, a preeminent scholar of the food of the African Diaspora, will serve as keynote speaker for Bowling Green State University’s “Beyond ‘The Dream’” 2018 series of events.

Harris’ presentation, “Deacon’s Chicken and Free Breakfasts: Food and the Civil Rights Movement,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. for this free event, which is open to the public. A book signing will immediately follow the program, which will include an orchestra performance and a School of Art visual presentation.

Harris is one of a handful of African Americans who have achieved prominence in the culinary world. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University, teaches English at Queens College and lectures internationally. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence and The New York Times. She has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America and recently helped the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria.

Heejoo Kim, an assistant professor of digital arts whose projects focus on social issues, will give a presentation. The Bowling Green Philharmonia will perform Joseph Schwantner’s “New Morning for the World: ‘Daybreak of Freedom,’” written to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. BGSU alumnus Dr. Uzee Brown, chair of the Department of Music at Morehouse College, will narrate the piece.

“Beyond ‘The Dream’” will feature a series of events through April, including the 29th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Jan. 12. The event will feature keynote speakers Dr. Harold Brown, who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tails, a group of African American men, and Dr. Marsha Bordner, president emeritus at Terra State Community College. Brown and Bordner co-wrote a memoir of Brown’s life, “Keep Your Airspeed Up: The Story of a Tuskegee Airman,” released in August 2017. A book signing will follow this 1 p.m. event at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center, 530 W. Poe Road.

A complete list of events is available at

Guests with disabilities are requested to indicate if they need special services, assistance or appropriate modifications to fully participate in these events by contacting Accessibility Services at or 419-372-8495 prior to the events.