Derby Day 2023
Let's Celebrate the Black Godfathers of Horse Racing
Derby Day 2023 - Celebrating the Black Godfathers of Horse Racing.
Tickets are currently selling for Derby Day 2023 - Celebrating the Black Godfathers of Horse Racing. Space at the mansion is limited and there are a few Early Bird tickets remaining. This is an event you do not want to miss! Purchase your tickets today!
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Zephyr Wright - White House Cook and LBJ's Conscience
As we approach President's Day this coming Monday, February 20, 2023, Black Food and Spirits remembers the late, great Zephyr Wright.
Zephyr Black Wright grew up in Marshall, Texas and was the personal chef to President Lyndon B. Johnson. She made Southern specialties like fried chicken, hash, peach cobbler, and popovers, and helped make The White House a coveted invite in Washington, D.C.’s dinner party scene.
Wright was in charge of the home cooking for the Johnsons in the White House kitchen. She also made meals, for VIPs, in between the tenures of two White House Executive Chefs. Wright’s influence extended beyond the kitchen. When Wright moved with the president's family to Washington, D.C., several hotels in the Southern part of the United States would not let her stay.
When Lyndon Johnson was senator, Wright refused to drive to Austin, Texas with him, telling him, "When Sammy and I drive to Texas…I am not allowed to go to the bathroom. I have to find a bush and squat. When it comes time to eat, we can't go into restaurants…And at night, Sammy sleeps in the front of the car with the steering wheel around his neck, while I sleep in the back. We are not going to do it again." Wright and her husband eventually made the decision to stay in D.C. year-round.
Wright is thought to have heavily influenced Johnson’s support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She reportedly spoke up to the President during his time in Congress about the injustices she faced road tripping between Texas and D.C. during congressional recesses. LBJ used Wright’s Jim Crow experiences to shame reluctant legislators into supporting the new act. After signing the landmark legislation, LBJ gave Wright one of the signing pens and said, “You deserve this more than anyone else.”
Wright passed away in 1988 in Washington, DC.