Caterers & Hoteliers
African Americans in Food Service
ree Blacks often worked as peddlers, stewards or cooks, or hawked and vended
food. In addition to those
occupations, free blacks also were waiters,
caterers, shopkeepers, and innkeepers.
In New York City, for example, Blacks established an early foothold
in catering and hostelry. Black
caterers such as Thomas Dorsey, Henry Jones, and Henry Minton, established
a monopoly in Philadelphia in the mid-1800s.
One of the best known black caterers in Philadelphia was Robert Bogle, a former waiter. Bogle acquired substantial wealth from his catering business.
Among other Philadelphia African Americans who prospered at catering were James LeCount, James Prosser, Jeremiah Bower, and Peter Augustine--whose business lasted until the early 1900s. They became well known for dishes like lobster salad, chicken croquettes, deviled crab, and terrapin.
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