About: Emily Littleton
Check out Emily's latest contributions to Our Jackson Home:
It’s dark as Aaron Witmer trudges out to his food truck at 3:30 on Saturday morning. Stars twinkle overhead and moonlight throws shadows as he unlocks the door and climbs into the back. With careful precision, he measures out flour, oil, eggs, and other ingredients and dumps them into the stainless steel mixer resting on the floor. At the flip of a switch, it comes to life and beats the disparate ingredients together into cohesive dough—the first donut dough of the day.
There’s a lot of jerk chicken in Joseph Kabre’s future. It’s the most popular dish at Jamaican and African Cuisine, the restaurant he manages. On a typical day, he has enough ready to serve a couple dozen people. But Saturday, March 4, he’s hoping for potentially four times that many customers to show up hungry for the spicy dish. It will take him two days to prepare enough. The chicken has to be smoked, seasoned correctly, and then finished out in the oven.
The year was 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Jackson City Hall had separate drinking fountains for "colored" people and "white" people, and Union University and Lane College were still neighbors downtown.It was a crisp fall night in the middle of basketball season. Camille Long was one of only four African-Americans in the bleachers of the Union University gym, including the fellow Lane College student she'd dragged with her.
The garden is a block away from the café, a small oasis of green amidst the severe office buildings and cloudy gray-scale urban landscape that makes up downtown Jackson. It doesn’t draw attention to itself, and many pedestrians walk quickly by without even noticing it, busy with their phones or their thoughts or their plans to hurry on to something, somewhere, sometime.