As part of my series on corn I want to took about Tille's Chicken Shack of Harlem. I learned about Teenager Tillie Eripp, a migrant from Tampa, Florida, while doing research in the New York City Municipal archives for my book Hog and Hominy http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/webFeatures. She first migrated to Philadelphia where she suffered desperately from loneliness. “Soon, through the help of a friend, she secured a job as a cook in a boarding house, where she remained for several years,” wrote the WPA’s Sarah Chavez. She migrated from Philadelphia to New York in 1928, just before the Great Depression started. Her first job in the city was operating a concession stand selling fried chicken at Harry Hansbury’s speakeasy. Increasing demand for her chicken along with some savings led her to move to a storefront space next to the speakeasy, where she ran Tillie’s Chicken Shack. Eripp struggled in getting the business off the ground, depending entirely on inexperienced help. “Once the success of their venture was assured she added to her menu, occasionally serving collard greens, pig tails, black-eyed peas, yams and hogshead,” wrote Chavez. In 1932 she moved to Harlem's famed Jungle Alley located on West 133rd street between Lenox and Seventh Avenues where she opened the Chicken Shack at 237 Lenox Avenue and 121st Street. Jungle Alley contained a number of African American owned clubs that also attracted white musicians and patrons who came to learn more about jazz music and enjoy good food thereafter. The Chicken Shack served hot biscuits and coffee with its fried chicken dinners, “and each customer was permitted as many biscuits as he or she desired.” Later she added spoon corn bread, a variety of vegetables, and salads to the menu. One source claims her place was a favorite eatery of Marcus Garvey. Here is a related corn recipe from the Tillie's Chicken.
Corn series: http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/search?q=corn+series