Dietary Studies With Reference to the Food of the Negro in Alabama in 1895 and 1896



Source of Digital Item

National Agricultural Library


The purpose of this bulletin is to give an account of studies of the food and nutrition of negroes in the neighborhood of Tuskegee, Ala. The investigation was made during the spring of 1895 and the winter of 1895-96, with the cooperation of the Normal and Agricultural Institute at Tuskegee and of the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn.

The investigation includes examinations of 20 dietaries of 18 families. Some of the families lived in and close by the village of Tuskegee; the majority were on plantations from 2 to 9 miles distant. Some of the families, especially those in and near the village, showed by their improved conditions of living the noteworthy influence of the Institute and of association with people of intelligence and thrift. The same was true of some of the plantation families. The rest were very much like the ordinary plantation negroes, and were, indeed, selected as typical examples of the great mass of the colored people of this region. A number of the families were on a large plantation where the mortgage system prevails, and the plane of living is a very low one. The people studied represent the gradation from the lower to the higher grade of living which actually exists among the negroes in Alabama, and the observations thus help to illustrate not only the evils under which the colored people live, but some of the phases through which they are passing in their upward progress.

While the main subject is the food and nutrition of typical negro families in a representative district of the South, other observations pertaining to their conditions of life are also reported.

The general plan consisted in visiting each house or cabin from day to day for a period generally of two weeks, weighing the food used by the family, and taking specimens for analysis, notes being made at the same time regarding the people, their dwellings, farms, work, habits, and the like.


Dietary Studies With Reference to the Food of the Negro in Alabama in 1895 and 1896