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Breaking bread means to share a meal, money, or wealth with someone. Through the Breaking Bread lens of Fors Marsh Group’s (FMG) Black Culture Curation series, we celebrate Black entrepreneurship as well as the vital contributions that Black people have made to American food history. 

The legacy of Black business ownership can be traced throughout American history, with the rise and fall of these enterprises aligned with experiences of racial discrimination, economic hardship, and collective determination. During the Reconstruction period following the Civil War and emancipation, there was a surge in Black entrepreneurship as the formerly enslaved began making advancements in many industries. However, as Black Americans began to gain more economic freedom, barriers to continued advancement were put in place. These barriers included Jim Crow laws, which are one of many factors that have contributed to the racial wealth gap that persists today.  

Despite centuries of systemic setbacks, a rich tradition of Black entrepreneurship emerged in our society, a testament to the Black community’s tremendous creativity and resilience—born, in part, out of hardship, necessity, and extreme adversity. FMG invites you to learn more about the rise and fall of this prominent hub for Black business and culture. We also encourage you to seek out Black-owned businesses in your area to support today.

kola nutIn addition to recognizing the legacy of Black-owned businesses, FMG celebrates the contributions that Black communities have made to American cuisine. Do you like to drink Coca-Cola? The kola nut—one of the main ingredients in Coca-Cola—was brought to what is now the United States by enslaved Africans. Enslaved cooks developed gumbo, jambalaya, pepper pot, and Hoppin’ John—all commonly known today as soul food. Restaurants that celebrate Black cuisine from across the African diaspora continue to support the livelihood of many essential workers who deserve our praise.

Join us in supporting Black businesses and culture by checking out our curated list of Black products, services, culinary artists, and restaurants near our Northern Virginia headquarters.

Directories for Black Products and Services 

DC-Area Black-Owned Restaurants and Food Trucks

Jamaican food

  • Petite Soeur–Specialty chocolates and confections. Located in Northwest DC. (Instagram: @petitesoeurdc)
  • SWSoda Pop Shop–A family-owned ice cream parlor. Located in Southwest DC at the Wharf. (Instagram:@swsodapopshop) 
  • Crab Boss–Cajun seafood located in Brandywine, MD, and Northeast DC. (Instagram: @crabboss00) 
  • Oohh’s and Aahh’s–Soul Food restaurant that has been open since 2003. Located in Northwest DC.
  • Milk and Honey Café–Breakfast, brunch, and lunch food with soul food options as well. Located in Bowie, College Park, and Lanham MD.
  • NuVegan Café–Vegan soul food and casual food. Located in Northwest DC, College Park, MD, and Richmond, VA. 
  • Sankofa–Bookstore and restaurant serving breakfast food and quick bites with vegan options as well. Located in Northwest DC (directly across from Howard University).
  • Jerk@Nite (Food Truck)–Modern Jamaican food with old-school flavors rooted in love and culture. Located in Northeast DC. (Instagram: @Jerkatnite) 
  • Southrn’ Spice (Food Truck)–Soul food from the heart with a southern touch. Moves around the DC and Maryland area. Check their Instagram for their updated location. (Instagram: @southrnspice)

Black Culinary Artists and Innovators

Tabitha Brown

Explore the rest of FMG’s Black Culture Curation Series here. To learn more about FMG’s DIVE Committee, the Black@FMG affinity group, and our commitment to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace, visit our Culture page.

About the author

FMG Driving Inclusion and Valuing Equity Committee

Jasmine Wheeler, Ph.D., Co-Chair

jasmine wheeler headshotAs the co-chair for FMG's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee, Dr. Jasmine Wheeler leads FMG's efforts to identify, set, communicate, and implement diversity and inclusion goals and programs. Dr. Wheeler is also a researcher on the Military Recruiting Research team, where she supports research that examines the individual, social, and environmental factors that drive interest in military service on behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD). Dr. Wheeler has over seven years of experience in qualitative/quantitative research methodology, survey design, project management, and proposal development.

Shelbi Hall, Co-Chair

jasmine wheeler headshotAs the co-chair for FMG's Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee, Shelbi Hall leads FMG's efforts to identify, set, communicate, and implement diversity and inclusion goals and programs. Joining FMG in 2018, Shelbi serves a Human Resources Generalist to assist employees during their career at FMG. She reinforces policies and procedures as well as assists in employee relations, performance management, training and development, and benefits and compensation. 

 

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