Michigan restaurant sells shoe box lunches for Black History Month


A Michigan restaurant is celebrating Black History Month by serving up some of the soul food it is known for, but packaged in a way that shows what it was like for African Americans in the time of segregation.

"There were oppressive times in the history of this country. Black people were refused service in public accommodations, rest areas, restaurants,” said Patrick Coleman, the restaurant owner.

Beans & Cornbread in Southfield has been around for 20 years, but when you walk in you take a trip back in time.

For the month of February, you can order some "food for thought."

"Walking into a restaurant, being seated, ordering food and when you think about folks 50, 60, 70 years ago, they didn't have that privilege,” Coleman said.

Coleman said generations of family stories include tales of traveling with lunch in a shoebox.

Because of segregation, it was often hard to find an eatery that would serve African Americans.

"If you took the train, say from Detroit to Nashville, once you hit the Mason-Dixon Line, you weren't allowed to go into the dining cars,” Coleman said.

For Black History Month, the restaurant is offering soul food in a shoe box. Inside you will find entrees, like delicious chicken and waffles, and on the outside, are stories of historical figures and facts.

"Let's provide some knowledge, let's tell the stories,” Coleman said.

The box costs $1 on top of the price of the meal.

A portion of the proceeds will go to a youth program in Detroit.

Even though the box represents an oppressive time, Coleman said it pays tribute to the people who lived through it.

"Celebrating the resiliency of not only the human spirit, but the American spirit,” he said.

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