Train travel wasn’t always the luxury it is today. The carriages were hot and sticky, with no AC, and travelers often grew hungry during long rides because there was no dining car.
But the women of Gordonsville, Virginia changed the game.
In the 1860s, Gordonsville was a regional transportation hub with many connecting train lines. A group of Black women called waiter carriers came up with the idea to begin selling food to passengers passing through.
After going through all their best recipes they decided to sell fried chicken.
These women became well-known for their food. Some travelers purposely planned their routes through Gordonsville just to get a taste of the incredible fried chicken the women cooked up.
But, soon enough, they were targeted by scammers.
Some white passengers got slick and started stealing. Before they paid, they’d take the food through the window, perfectly timed just as the train would pull off.
But the women never let foolishness stop what they were doing. They even expanded into selling desserts, sandwiches, coffee, and fruits.
This anti-Black system has been lying to the world about our people being “lazy” for centuries, but that’s never been true. We’ve always known how to make something out of nothing.
We should all look at the skills we have right now and ask ourselves how we can use them to live a more liberated life.