How sweet potato pie became culturally significant in the South
Sweet Potatoes are native to South America, particularly in Peru.
The Spanish introduce the sweet potato into Europe.
The Colombian Exchange is the largest trading Network between Europe and the New World.
The Portuguese introduce sweet potatoes into India and Africa
Early 16th Century
Western Europeans incorporate sweet potatoes into dessert-making.
In the South, sweet potatoes grow abundantly!
Late 16th Century
Plantation owners tasked slaves with dessert-making.
Southern plantations grow sweet potatoes.
The English introduce sweet potatoes into North America, then Japan.
18th century - The Antebellum South
The United States abolishes slavery.
African Americans begin to flee the South and migrate North and Westward.
December 6, 1865
Plantations in the South begin to incorporate sweet potatoes into their desserts.
19th Century and foward
As African Americans migrated, they carried their traditions with them along with their mastery of sweet potato pie.
African cooks were able to perfect the recipe for sweet potato pie since it was their task to create desserts.
Sweet Potato pie is a dessert commonly served during thanksgiving. Historically, since it was easier for pumpkins to be grown in Northern states, pumpkin pie became the pride of the North while sweet potato pie held significance for people in the South.
Harris, Jessica B. “'I Became a Thanksgiving Orphan'.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 14 Nov. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/dining/jessica-b-harris-thanksgiving.html.
Miller, Adrian. “How Sweet Potato Pie Became African Americans' Thanksgiving Dessert.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 24 Nov. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/how-sweet-potato-pie-became-african-americans-favorite-dessert/2015/11/23
O’brien, Patricia J. “The Sweet Potato: Its Origin and Dispersal.” American Anthropologist, vol. 74, no. 3, 1972, pp. 342–365., doi:10.1525/aa.1972.74.3.02a00070.