The Dinner Plates That Funded The Boycott For Equality

Georgia Gilmore
Brooke Brown
February 4, 2020

Montgomery, Alabama cook, midwife, and activist Georgia Gilmore loved to feed her fried chicken sandwiches to hungry crowds at the Holt Street Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. hosted ongoing strategy sessions for the bus boycott. 

Soon activists would employ those same cooking skills to stay alive.

Looking for a way to raise money without triggering the suspicions of white employers and landlords who might retaliate with firings, evictions, or even murder, Gilmore formed an unlikely network of investors.

She and her co-conspirators (home cooks affectionately referred to as the Club from Nowhere) stockpiled cash generated from dinner and dessert sales to fund an alternative transportation system that would improve mobility for Black residents in spite of the boycott.

But soon Gilmore became a target.

After testifying on behalf of King in a conspiracy trial, Gilmore lost her job at the National Lunch Company. 

Fortunately, after an encouraging word from King, Gilmore decided to convert her home kitchen into an improvised restaurant to support herself, which she did for years thereafter.

Georgia Gilmore and the women she empowered played a crucial unrecognized role in propelling movement work forward. 

She proved that no contribution is too insignificant when history hangs in the balance!

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