Black History Month is an important month where we recognize the historical contributions made by black leaders, innovators and pioneers. Enjoy this list of black pioneers and leaders who changed the food industry forever. 

Lloyd Hall

sweet, Whole Foods Market, Whole Foods, Fruit, mango, orange, kiwi, blueberry, jar of fruit, strawberries, strawberry, grape
Shelby Cohron

Lloyd Hall was a pioneer in food chemistry. He created many of the chemicals used to preserve food without losing its flavor. Hall showed that some spices, like ginger, exposed food to microbes instead of acting as a preservative, which was contrary to common beliefs. After his discovery, he created a special treatment that controlled mold and bacteria while maintaining flavor. 

Zephyr Wright

apple, sweet, apple pie, cobbler, pie
Zoe Gavil

Zephyr Wright was Lyndon B. Johnson's personal chef. While Johnson was in Congress, politicians visited his home on a daily basis to get a bite of her food. Her peach cobbler was legendary. Wright shared her experiences with racism and discrimination to Johnson, and she is thought to help influence his signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Wright was there when Johnson signed the act that banned segregation in schools and in employment offices. After Johnson finished signing the act, he handed Wright the pen and said, "You deserve this more than anybody else."

Abby Fisher 

Judy Chen

Abby Fisher was one of the first black cookbook authors. She was famous for her southern cooking, especially her pickles and preserves. Fisher was born into slavery and learned how to cook in plantation kitchens in the South. She developed a distinct flavor and unique style with her cooking. After the Civil War, her friends pushed her to publish a cookbook. However, there was one key problem. She didn't know how to write or read. The education of black people was discouraged and made illegal during the time of slavery. She ended up describing her recipes in detail to a group of writers who put together the recipes for her. "What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking" was published in 1881. 

George Washington Carver

peanut butter, peanut, butter, chocolate
Jocelyn Hsu

George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor. Carver came up with more than 300 uses for peanuts. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, growing cotton had depleted and exhausted farms and fields in the South. Carver urged farmers to plant peanuts because it could restore the nitrogen in the soil and provide protein, which was much needed in the Southern diet. However, when farmers started planting peanuts, there was little demand for them. Carver solved the problem by researching and developing hundreds of products from peanuts, including milk, flour, ink, dye and soap. By expanding the commercialization of peanuts, he saved the agricultural economy of the South and popularized some products we take for granted today.

Wallace "Famous Amos" Amos

chocolate, cookie, chocolate cookie
Maria Glander

Wally Amos is the founder of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. He developed an interest in cooking at a young age. Amos improved on his Aunt Della Bryant's cookie recipe including many ingredients that weren't normally found in cookies. After graduating college, he became William Morris Agency's first black talent agent, signing Simon and Garfunkel and representing legendary artists like Diana Ross & the Supremes, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye. Amos would attract his clients by sending chocolate chip cookies and an invitation to meet with him. The first Famous Amos cookie store opened in Los Angeles and soon Famous Amos cookies could be found in stores across the United States. 

Final Thoughts

Non-copyright images of these individuals could not be found, but I suggest you search on Google to see what they look like and learn more about each pioneer. 

I hope you enjoyed this article because I certainly enjoyed writing it. Tell your friends about your newfound knowledge. Let's never forget all the inventions, foods, products, art, books and culture black people have and continue to contribute to America. Celebrate black history month to the fullest!