Sankofa Garden Homes: Happy Jubilee! Our freedom, our food

CLARENCE GLOVER | 1/13/2019, 11:52 a.m.
Across America on Dec. 3l, millions of African Americans gathered together in churches for Watch Night Services to pray 2018 ...
Professor Freedom enjoying a Jubilee Day freedom meal of collard greens grown in his Sankofa Garden, along with blacked-eyed peas and brown rice. He used smoked turkey rather than pork in both dishes for a healthier alternative. Albert Williams

Sankofa Gardening Homes

Across America on Dec. 3l, millions of African Americans gathered together in churches for Watch Night Services to pray 2018 out and 2019 in. As they gathered before midnight, songs of praise and sermons thanking God for allowing them to see a New Year were preached.

Each year, as midnight draws near, there is a feeling of collective joy that fills sanctuaries as people fall to their knees in prayer, thanking God for allowing them to see another year. They embrace and greet each with shouts of hallelujah while music fills the air.

As they travel back to their homes and await the dawn of a new day and a New Year, the aroma of black-eyed peas and collard greens fill homes like incense, blessing and greeting all who enter.

Like the night before, African Americans welcome Jan. 1 with collective culinary traditions of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens. They welcome family and friends as they make sure that they eat their share.

But is the New Year the only thing African Americans have to be thankful for? Why do members of African American churches gather each year at this time and engage in this spiritual outpouring and culinary celebration of food, as if a ritual of nature draws us together?

To understand these events we must go back to Dec. 31, 1862. America was in the midst of the Civil War. The war had split America in two and given birth to two nations: the Union in the North and the Confederacy in the South. The reason for the Civil War has been debated for years.

According to Ducksters Education Site, “There are many causes that led to the American Civil War. While slavery is generally cited as the main cause for the war, other political and cultural differences between the North and the South certainly contributed.”

Ducksters Education Site notes the following reasons for the war:

Industry vs. Farming

In the mid-1800s, the economies of many Northern states had moved away from farming to industry. A lot of people in the North worked and lived in large cities like New York, Philadelphia and Boston. The Southern states, however, had maintained a large farming economy, and this economy was based on slave labor. While the North no longer needed slaves, the South relied heavily upon slaves for their way of life.

States’ Rights

The idea of states’ rights was not new to the Civil War. Since the Constitution was first written, there had been arguments about how much power the states should have verses how much power the federal government should have. The Southern states felt that the federal government was taking away their rights and powers.


As the United States continued to expand westward, each new state added to the country shifted the power between the North and the South. Southern states began to fear they would lose so much power that they would lose all their rights. Each new state became a battleground between the two sides for power.