In the fall of 1864, slaves prayed with and for hundreds of Yankee soldiers who sought refuge in their cabins. The words of these prayers reveal slaves’ powerful faith that God would intervene in history to defeat the Confederacy and bring about their freedom.
As we travel home this Thanksgiving, it is worth taking time to reflect on the various meanings of this holiday—personal, collective, regional, and national. A product of nineteenth-century sectional, socio-sexual, and imperialist imperatives, Thanksgiving is far from a physically satisfying celebration involving a return to an uncomplicated home.
My attachment to the Thanksgiving relish tray began with my grandmother, whose tray contained her homemade pickled peaches, homemade bread-and-butter pickles, homemade watermelon rind pickles—and store-bought, bright red, spiced apple rings. The rings sort of came out of left field and I don’t know the story behind them, but as a kid I loved their sweet, Technicolor addition.
Now I’ll have certain cooks shouting, “Heresy!” Most really great cooks do not put any stuffing in the bird IF they plan to utilize the remains in the next days for the great stews, gumbos, salads, etc., that are based on the carcass. IF your family is going to finish off the bird the first day, by all means stuff. But, Oh, Heavens, scraping out the nasty bits of stuffing if you want to use the carcass is a problem.
Malinda Maynor Lowery, author of Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South, shares a personal Thanksgiving story over at FemCentral, the Virtual Institute for Women: “Ooh, I’m going to spend Thanksgiving with the Indians!,” joked a co-worker of mine one autumn afternoon in the late 1990s. He and I were crewmates on one of my …