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Hot, Hot Chicken
A Nashville Story

Author(s): Rachel Louise Martin

Hot chicken is on the list of "must‑try" Southern foods in countless publications and websites. Restaurants in New York, Detroit, Cambridge, and even Australia advertise that they fry their chicken “Nashville‑style.” More than twelve thousand people showed up for the 2014 Fourth of July Music City Hot Chicken Festival. The James Beard Foundation recently gave Prince’s Chicken Shack an American Classic Award for inventing the dish.
    But for almost seventy years, hot chicken was made and sold primarily in Nashville’s black neighborhoods—and the story of hot chicken says something powerful about race relations in Nashville, especially as the city   tries to figure out what it will be in the future.
    Hot, Hot Chicken recounts the history of Nashville’s black communities through the story of its hot chicken scene from the Civil War, when Nashville became a segregated city, through the tornado that ripped through North Nashville in March 2020.

Biography of Author(s)


  • "I’m from Nashville, and I was able to put myself in the neighborhoods mentioned. I learned so much history that I didn’t know. Great job here."
    - Carla Hall