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Article-of-the Day #75: Smithsonian-Meet Lena Richard, the Celebrity Chef Who Broke Barriers in the Jim Crow South

In 1949, nearly a year after New Orleans’ WDSU-TV went live for the first time, Lena Richard, an African American Creole chef and entrepreneur, brought her freshly prepared dishes to a family-style kitchen TV set and took to the screen to film her self-titled cooking show—the first of its kind for an African American.

“Her reputation was very fine,” says Marie Rhodes, Richard’s daughter and sous chef. “Everybody used to call her Mama Lena.”