Yes, friends, I had to go here. As if I don’t have three other classes to write for, I had to find evidence to prove my claim that chicken and watermelon stereotypes stem from slavery. Further, they were reinforced by Jim Crow and minstrelsy.
It is well documented that slaves were often deprived of FOOD. So they would end up stealing the most accessible sources of food, which at the time were chickens and watermelon. White masters/planters/property owners turned the cruelty of food deprivation into “those blacks sure do like chicken and watermelon.” And the racist stereotype was born.
Of course, this is a simple entry for a complex topic that deserves more research, and there is plenty of it out there. So if you are interested in pursuing this topic, go for it!
I began with a Google search: pictures of minstrel performers with watermelon, and this search came up with a wealth of sites.
Thanks…I have to go eat breakfast now.