Roy Mitchell, Jr.
“African American Male Quilter”
THE HISTORY OF WATERMELON
As a collector of Black memorabilia, I began to see the strength of the African American people and the many negative stereotypes that have been associated with them. Watermelon has always been negatively linked to Black culture.
However, as I learned more about my African American heritage and the history of the watermelon, I realized that what many have seen as a negative link is really a powerful link to life, strength and survival. Did you know that watermelons are native to the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa? This link to Africa begins in Egypt with watermelon harvest, as shown in hieroglyphics on walls of tombs dating as far back as 5000 years ago. Some historians give an account that watermelons were left as food to nourish the dearly departed in the afterlife of Egyptians. Further accounts note that watermelons were brought to North America by African slaves.
The watermelon, like Black people, is strong, durable and versatile. It is my intent to show this positive link between my African American culture and watermelon. I introduce to you: The Watermelun Babies Collection.