From Africa To The Americas, The Original Design Of The Porch Is Rooted In Black Culture

wraparound porch at a plantation
Adé Hennis
March 28, 2024

We made some of our core memories on our front porches. It was a place where we could converse, take pictures, play dominoes, and forget about our problems. But our association with porches is centuries old.

The attached porch originates from the Yoruba tribe and eventually made its way to the Americas, where enslaved Black people incorporated the design onto their quarters. Under Jim Crow, porches allowed Black people to feel somewhat protected from racism.

The porch could be whatever people imagined it to be: a small library, barbershop, classroom, or even a laundromat. Regardless of how we used our porches, though, one thing remained constant.

The unity we experienced gathered on this sacred stoop has settled family arguments, kept Black children safe, and kept us connected to our communities.  It reminds us of our connections to each other across the globe, too.

Whether viewed through a historical, safety, or unifying lens, it speaks volumes that our culture has preserved this architectural treasure.  What are your best memories of times on a porch?

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