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The Enrichment of Tea Ceremonies

by:Charlie Fagan As Black History Month concluded, Dr. Paula Williams organized an educational experience that through centuries of history all through the cultural impact that tea ceremonies have. The recap of the African American Tea Ceremony was an open, unique, and entertaining experience for all who were willing to attend. For the duration of the event, its attendees were treated to a
presentation that taught the origins of tea within African and African-American culture, the
opportunity to drink your own cup of assorted teas, complete with a snack, and social games,
such as ‘Two Truths, One Lie’.

The tradition originates from New Orleans in the years before emancipation. On February 15th,
enslaved people were given teas, food and tableware leftover from Valentine’s Day by their
masters. The slaves would request to borrow china teacups from their neighbors after noon. This
request would be a covert invitation to the ceremony, which they would gather in secret to dine.
After the abolishment of slavery, the tradition would evolve into gatherings held at churches and
later Black-owned tea rooms. During the Jim Crow era, tea rooms would host social events, for
the “upper crust” of the African-American community, but in the modern age, the tea room has
been less common, being replaced with the cafe.

Dr.Williams hopes to involve students and faculty in the revival of a tradition that was forgotten
about in the sixties and seventies.

The African American Tea Ceremony is planned to become a yearly tradition as it were when it
was prominent.

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