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Grandma Otis Edna Tucker Vance's Business is in the Green Book

My father, Robert Foster, would pick up my grandmother, Mrs. Otis Edna Tucker Vance from the airport when she would come to visit. My grandmother would tell me that as soon as she got to the house she had to make my father's favorite, fried chicken.

I wanted to know how she made it, and I could tell she did not let on what her secrets what her secrets were. She told me. Each time I watched her as she explained how she did it. I never told anybody but my daughter, Adrianne, how she did it.

As a matter of fact, my grandmother always let me watch her cook when she was visiting us in Joliet, Illinois or when we visited her. My mother told me she used to have a place called the Green Leaf Cafe. It was not until I moved to South Carolina that I actually found references to it in The Palmetto Leader.

This is one entry I found in the 1937 Columbia City Directory where Mrs. Otis Edna Tucker Vance was listed as working at Green Leaf Lunch: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page. Check the directory title page image for full title and publication information.

This is the 1937 Columbia City Directory right before Otis conceived her first child. In Mom and Siblings Birth Announcements Found in “The Palmetto Leader,” Columbia, SC, I explained how Otis hired family members to run the Green Leaf Cafe so she could bear children. I learned from Ramon Jackson, African American Heritage Coordinator at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, that that establishment is in The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1939. I had not thought about the Green Leaf Cafe being listed in the Green Book, but it certainly was a place where African Americans gathered to eat and socialize.

Columbia Record (Columbia, South Carolina), January 30, 1936: 3. NewsBank.

The article above was found in the Columbia Record. The Green Leaf Cafe was listed as a dealer of Dr. Pepper in Jan. 30, 1936. I will be adding more of my findings about what I now recognize not only as family history but as Columbia, SC history.

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