As of March 15, 2019 states, “Barbecue Hall of Fame exists not only to recognize, document and preserve the heritage of barbecue, but also to educate others by identifying and honoring its evolving history and tradition.” As I have read this website over the past 3 years, barbecue has severe whitewashing of history and heritage in the Hall of Fame too, similarly to Fox News omission in 2015. In looking at the list of 27 Hall of Famers installed since 2011, I noticed that out of all the honorees, there has only been one black member Mr. Henry Perry. Mr. Perry was awarded posthumously in 2014, as he died in 1940, nearly 80 years ago. As I think about this list, not one living black person is on this list despite the fact that I personally wrote two recommendations for at least two black people in 2018 I believe whom were Hall of Fame worthy, so the committee can’t say that they did not get any recommendations. One BBQ Hall of Fame legacy member, Mike Mills, on the lists, acknowledges he was taught by a black man, Mr. Whitt when the rebuttal stories to Fox News came out. When one think about BBQ History and whom heavily influenced American BBQ, it was perfected on plantations in the American South by enslaved Africans whom later passed it on their descendants by oral means long before YouTube or Google (Barbecue: The History of an American Institution by Robert. Moss, Virginia BBQ by Joseph R. Haynes. These people whom were the true pitmasters, despite not being called, were some of the earliest, entrepreneurs and restaurant owners when they starting evolving earth dugs pits to above ground pits to cook and sell barbecue.
In seeing this list in 2019, I believe it is time to start honoring our own black pitmasters as inclusivity and diversity is not reflected in places like the Barbecue Hall of Fame. Caucasians say we black people must not attach race to separate ourselves, in everything. However, this is not a labeling system we created in the US. If all people were truly treated equality, none of this would be a problem. One can look at the African Methodist Episcopal church, Historical Black College and Universities, or an organization like the Federation of Southern Cooperatives had to form, for the chance to survive in a racial hostile environment. Black people have NOT made the majority rules in the US and the laws were made for one group of people. The one shot that blacks had to make rules during Reconstruction was short lived. The original constitution considered black people 3/5 of a person in the beginning, the voting rights act for black people was amended last in 2006 so we can vote, the handing out crime sentences are disproportionately harsher for black people, and so many more things in the US are unfair. In 2018, I started the Gumbo Jubilee Awards but I omitted black pitmasters and farmers, where I recognized a chef, a writer, and a butcher. In 2019, I will correct my omissions in honoring these people in addition to a musician or entertainer, in thinking about pairing of food and music. I know we need a legacy of inductees with promotion because black people have been able to do a lot with often very little. Black people can not cheat and rig the system, if any to the level of the recent college admissions scams, without suffering a severe jail sentence once they are caught. As such, going forward I will incorporate a special recognition for black pitmasters at the next Gumbo Jubilee event. Since a living black pitmaster can't be recognized in the Barbecue Hall of Fame, I will create a solution as a subset of the Gumbo Jubilee Awards titled the Black Barbecue Hall of Fame.
Disclaimer, all of my events are open to the public despite whether or not major media outlets want to write about it or not. I am working on ways to address the media situation too. Gumbo Jubilee is open to all and our only practice that some say is discriminatory, is that we must charge you some green to carryout this work.