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Inaugural Juneteenth Foodways Festival in Indianapolis, IN

A historical photo of a woman in a kitchen

Chef Dolly Johnson in the White House kitchen, circa 1890. | Photo via Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site

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There’s a hidden history of diverse Hoosiers from the 1960s-1890s, and thanks to the Lilly Foundation and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, that unspoken past is coming to light.

The history

While in office, President Harrison made several notable changes. He hired the first woman onto his administration staff. He brought in electricity to the White House. And he also fired his French chef and hired Dolly Johnson — a Black woman — to work as his executive chef. She then went on to become a restaurateur in Lexington, KY.

You can learn more about President Harrison’s relationships with Black Civil Rights advocates at the exhibit, No “Compact of Silence”: Black Civil Rights Advocates in the Harrison Era — which will be open until Tues., Nov. 1.

The event

The inaugural Juneteenth Foodways Festival will bring together Black chefs and the legacy of Dolly Johnson to give Hoosiers a taste of Indiana’s rich background of Black entrepreneurship.

Distinctive dishes that speak to the cultural heritage and contributions of Black foodways and American culture will be offered. Over 20 restaurants, caterers + vendors with a focus on Black-owned businesses will be available, including:

The details

  • When: Fri., June 17 from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
  • Where: 1230 N. Delaware St.
  • Cost: Free to the public — registration is recommended

Pro tip: You can buy both small bites + full-priced items during Happy Hour from 4-5:30 p.m.

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