Help us create the country's first major exhibition celebrating the countless Black chefs, farmers, and food and drink producers who have laid the foundation for American food culture.
African/American: Making the Nation's Table will be a feast for all senses, with stunning artifacts, celebratory music curated by Questlove, tastings by Carla Hall and others, and a restoration of the historic Ebony Magazine Test Kitchen.
We plan to open the exhibition in February 2020 at The Africa Center, located at the intersection of Central Park and East Harlem in New York City. After that, we will tour the exhibition nationally.
Join the campaign and help us give long overdue recognition to those who have shaped our national culinary landscape.
- The Legacy Quilt. This massive 30-foot-long quilt will be composed of 400 handcrafted blocks. Each one will tell the story of one African American luminary, such as Edna Lewis (farm-to-table pioneer), Chef James Hemings (introduced French cuisine to America), Frederick McKinley Jones (made the modern supermarket possible), and Leah Chase (Creole culinary icon).
- Ebony Magazine Test Kitchen. Described by The Chicago Tribune as “the most distinctive test kitchen ever created," this space was a touchstone for African American food culture for decades. For the first time ever, visitors will get to walk through and interact with this historic space while listening to a soundtrack of '70s music curated by Questlove.
- Guided Tasting. Visitors will gather around a table to break bread, share stories, and make new connections. We will offer tastings developed by Chef Carla Hall and an all-star lineup of chefs.
- Advance Access to Tickets ($10+): Access tickets to African/American before they are made available to the public.
- Digital Recognition ($25+): Be featured on a list of backers on the African/American exhibition website.
- A/A Magnet ($25+, pictured above): Receive a stylish magnet with the proud statement, "African American food is American food."
- Friends & Family Ticket ($50+): We'll open African/American for one week exclusively for Kickstarter backers. See the exhibition before anyone else does! Estimated dates of Friends & Family week are 2/28/20 to 3/6/20. Dates may change.
- Exhibit in a Box ($200+): Receive a curated box containing Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice and Field Peas along with recipes and interpretation to create an educational tasting at home.
- Adopt a Quilt Block ($400+, pictured above): Bring to life one block on the Legacy Quilt, enabling us to recognize one major African American culinary innovator. We'll identify you as the adopter in the Legacy Quilt content, as well as on a donor wall in the exhibition. You'll receive a beautiful print of your adopted block and upgraded tastings when you come visit the exhibition. Quilt blocks will be assigned by MOFAD.
- Ebony Apron ($800+, pictured above): Receive an Ebony Test Kitchen limited-edition apron produced by Tilit. You won't find this anywhere else. Actual design may vary.
- Collection of 3 Signed Books ($1,500+): Receive signed copies of three landmark books. We'll send you "High on the Hog" by Dr. Jessica B. Harris, "Jubilee" by Toni Tipton-Martin, and "The Cooking Gene" by Michael Twitty.
- Handcrafted Quilt Block ($3,000+): Receive a handcrafted Legacy Quilt block made by Harlem Needle Arts. Aside from the quilt block featured in African/American, this will be the only one in existence.
- Curator-Led Tour ($5,000+): You and your guests will tour African/American with a senior MOFAD curator. Discover hidden stories and learn about the process behind creating the exhibition.
- Invitation to VIP Premiere and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony ($10,000+): Only a select few will receive invitations to the star-studded VIP Premiere of African American. Join Lead Curator Dr. Jessica B. Harris, MOFAD leadership, and our exhibition advisors for an unforgettable evening. You'll also be invited to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony the following morning. Estimated dates are 2/27/20 and 2/28/20. Dates may change.
About the Lead Curator
Dr. Jessica B. Harris, the Lead Curator for African/American, is widely considered the world's pre-eminent expert on the foods of the African diaspora. Dr. Harris is the author of 12 critically acclaimed books and was recently inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Hall of Fame.
Following a 50-year teaching career at CUNY Queens College, and building on over four decades of work as a journalist and author, African/American is a natural extension of Dr. Harris's life's work. As Dr. Scott Barton writes, "Dr. Jessica B. Harris has championed the heretofore invisible African-American/African culinarians, rendering them visible and in plain sight."
MOFAD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit centered around the belief that food is culture. As the most universal aspect of human existence, it is a powerful lens for understanding each other and the world around us. We are a new kind of museum that uses this power to create cultural change toward a more thoughtful, caring, and delicious future.
We currently operate MOFAD Lab, an experimental gallery in Brooklyn. We have earned accolades for our multisensory exhibitions, including BOOM! The Puffing Gun and the Rise of Cereal, Flavor: Making It and Faking It, and Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant.
Our long-term goal is to open a large-scale museum where visitors will be able to taste their way around the world and through time, learning about the people and processes behind what we eat and drink.
African/American Advisory Committee
- Dr. Scott Barton: food historian and professor
- Gustave Blache III: artist and visual biographer of Leah Chase
- Adrienne Cheatham: chef and star of Top Chef
- BJ Dennis: chef and cultural activist
- Carla Hall: chef, author, and television personality
- Tanya Holland: author and chef/owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen
- Tonya Hopkins: co-founder of James Hemings Society
- Edouardo Jordan: James Beard Award-winning chef
- Charlotte Lyons: former Food Editor of Ebony
- André Mack: owner of Maison Noir wines
- Adrian Miller: James Beard Award-winning author of Soul Food: The Surprising Story of American Cuisine
- Thérèse Nelson: founder of Black Culinary History
- Kwame Onwuachi: James Beard Award-winning chef
- Questlove: co-founder of The Roots, author, and entrepreneur
- Matthew Raiford: chef and farmer at Gilliard Farms
- Glenn Roberts: founder of Anson Mills and president of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation
- Marcus Samuelsson: television personality and restaurateur
- Michael Skolnik: board member of the Trayvon Martin Foundation
- Alexander Smalls: James Beard Award-winning co-author of Between Harlem and Heaven
- Omar Tate: creator of the Honeysuckle dinner series
- Nicole Taylor: author of the Up South Cookbook
- Pierre Thiam: chef, educator, and author of Senegal
- Toni Tipton-Martin: author of The Jemima Code and Jubilee
- Michael Twitty: James Beard Award-winning author of The Cooking Gene
- Colleen Vincent: Director of Culinary Community Initiatives at the James Beard Foundation
- Jarobi White: founding member of A Tribe Called Quest
- Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson: author of Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs: Black Women, Food, & Power and Chair of Department of American Studies at University of Maryland College Park
The Chicago Tribune: "Ebony's test kitchen finally has a new home."
The New York Times: "An exhibition that is not just hands-on, but tongue-on and nostrils-on."
Risks and challenges
We take our mission and our work very seriously. However, as with any complex project, we may hit unforeseen obstacles.
Having run two successful Kickstarter campaigns already, we have our contingency plans in place. We have identified all of our vendors and will be ready to place orders once the campaign reaches its goal. However, there may be delays in fulfillment if we do not receive items on time.
While there are some things outside of our control, we will keep all of our backers updated on the project status. Thank you again for your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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