Mlk’s booth at his go-to barbecue joint became a memorial. then it disappeared. – the washington post

An undated photo of Aleck’s Barbecue Heaven in Atlanta, where the booth at back right was dedicated to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. Spanish pork chops (From Pam Alexander)

A few hours later, she would end up teary-eyed in the back yard of the house she once owned, pointing to a plot of ground on this rainy August evening in Atlanta and murmuring, over and over, “This is where it was.” But first, Pam Alexander took me to Walmart.

She ambled up one aisle and down another in the gigantic store, in search of the photos of notable neighborhood businesses and residents that Walmart had promised to display.

One such honoree was Alexander’s former business, the legendary Aleck’s Barbecue Heaven. How to cook bone in pork chops It was one of six barbecue restaurants that her father had opened around town.


Baked pork chops in the oven But this one, on what was once Hunter Street and is now Martin Luther King Jr. Recipes for pork chop casserole Drive, achieved fame because the man whom the street’s name honors used to eat there regularly. Smothered pork chops easy King and other leaders of the civil rights movement hung out at Aleck’s, sometimes planning, sometimes just relaxing, over plates of ribs drenched in the restaurant’s famous spicy Come Back sauce.

“All of the morning business was carried out at Paschal’s,” a motel and restaurant where activists met to strategize, Andrew Young, a prominent civil rights activist and former Atlanta mayor, told me. Bone in crock pot pork chops “But in the evening and late at night, you’d always stop at Aleck’s.”

Walmart stands more or less on the land where the tiny restaurant once operated. How to oven pork chops The photos were intended as an homage to the area — in the way, I suppose, that towns are named after American Indian tribes that have been conquered and street names reflect the types of trees that were bulldozed to create the subdivision.

After asking a few employees about the photos, Alexander found a manager, who told us the marketing team had ordered them removed because they risked confusing the Walmart brand with something local. Ways to cook pork chops in the oven The manager said she didn’t know what happened to the photos.

I first learned of Aleck’s in 1988, when I traveled to Atlanta to cover the Democratic National Convention for the alternative weekly Austin Chronicle in Texas. Dinner recipes with pork chops It was a tiny place, with four beat-up booths along the wall and a small black-and-white television sitting at one end of a peeling Formica counter. Great recipes for pork chops I swooned over the charred ribs, which had been smoked over hickory, oak and cherry woods and were served atop a slice of white sandwich bread and beneath a glorious swamp of that Come Back sauce.

During my visit, one booth toward the back was surrounded by mementos and a large black-and-white photo of King — a sort of altar, in a place where he had once sat. How to cook pork chops in the oven Even in this cramped space, where seats were at a premium, no one ever tried to sit there. How do you cook pork chops in a skillet They knew it was reserved for King’s memory.

With the impending opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington this month, I returned to Atlanta to see if I could find that booth. Pork chops in In my mind, it would be perfect for the museum: a way to illustrate the importance of eating places generally — and barbecue places and Aleck’s specifically — to black history.

Now, all these years later, Alexander met me at the Walmart. Can i boil pork chops I asked about the booth. Grilled pork chops dry rub She had been cryptic in our conversations. How to cook pork chops youtube “I have more to tell you,” she had texted, finally. Best recipe for pork chops She revealed now that the owner of her former house, where the booth had been stored, had told her that a tree fell on it and the booth had been hauled off the property to a landfill. How to fry pork chops I was crestfallen. Recipes for pork chops and gravy But I was here. How to cook pork loin chops in skillet So we went into the Walmart.

She hadn’t been inside before; she couldn’t bring herself to revisit the site where Aleck’s had once been. How to get tender pork chops Alexander grew up in Aleck’s, stirring the pot of sauce as a child.

Her father was Ernest James Alexander. Stuffed pork chops with apples But most everyone knew him as Aleck — and as a go-to man. Recipes for pork chops in a slow cooker “If you were running for office, you had to come by Aleck’s,” Young said. Recipes for pork chops and rice “He knew everything about everyone. Pork chops and rice The New York Times reporter or Washington Post reporter trying to figure out what’s going on in the community, he’d go to Aleck’s.”

Ernest James “Aleck” Alexander, right, works the pit at his barbecue restaurant with employee Jack Alford in an undated photo. Baked pork chops with apples (From Pam Alexander)

Aleck grew up in Liberty, Mo., and attended Fisk University, a historically black university in Nashville. Good baked pork chops While there, he met Virginia Berry, who would become his wife. Perfect pork loin chops After graduating, Aleck taught English and coached football at Fort Valley State College for a couple of years, then moved with Virginia to Atlanta, where, in 1942, he opened a rib shack.

About a year later, he opened a second Aleck’s, a takeout joint in a black middle-class neighborhood. Cooking pork chops nz In the mid-1940s, he opened his third place, the eatery that would help sustain a movement.

Aleck’s Barbecue Heaven became a beloved hub of both the community and the movement. Baked pork chops and sauerkraut “Aleck’s was probably as responsible as much as anything for Martin Luther King’s greatest speeches,” Young said. Roasted pork chops “Whenever he had to write a speech, he’d either get some ribs or have somebody get some for him and take them to his house. Recipes for pork chops ‘You can’t stop eating them, and then you can’t go to sleep,’ he said. What goes with fried pork chops He’d stay up all night and read and write because of those ribs.”

Aleck’s stood right next to the West Hunter Street Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dishes with pork chops Ralph Abernathy preached. Fried pork chops and gravy Abernathy, who died in 1990, was King’s closest adviser and best friend. Easy stuffed pork chops He co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King led and of which Young was a member, and he became president after King was assassinated.

Aleck’s “was a place where I saw many other people in the movement,” Rep. Crock pot pork chops sauerkraut John Lewis (D-Ga.), who worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, recalled in a phone interview.

Lewis was a co-sponsor of the bill that helped create the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opens Sept. How to make smothered pork chops 24. Whats good with pork chops “By having a place where you can talk over a meal, there is a sense of fairness and equality and togetherness,” he said. Pork chops with “People that you have a meal with and break bread with and eat ribs with. . . .” He paused. How do i make pork chops in the oven “It tells a story,” he said. Easy to make pork chops “It’s part of our history.”

In 1979, Aleck suffered a stroke. Grilled pork chops pineapple Although Pam was working as a high school teacher at the time, she helped her father run the restaurant. Preparing pork chops The youngest of three daughters, Pam was the one who became most involved in Aleck’s.

Aleck died in 1986. Fried pork chops no flour By then, the other restaurants had gone under. Pan fried pork chops He left Aleck’s Barbecue Heaven to Pam. Crock pot pork chops cream of mushroom Her mother helped Pam for about five years; she died in 1996. Best way to fix pork chops Pam and her daughters, Tracey and Crystal, made a go of it, even opening a second outlet in the Underground Atlanta entertainment district in 1989, but they closed it about a year later.

Aleck’s struggled through the ’90s. Recipes using pork chops Three of the booths were removed because of the cost to recondition them, and Alexander replaced them with tables. Crock pot pork chops with ranch The Martin Luther King booth, though, remained.

In the late ’90s, she said, the city used eminent domain to buy Aleck’s and build a Publix supermarket. Pork chops quick The city indicated at the time that it planned to relocate Aleck’s as part of a neighborhood revitalization plan, but Pam and the city couldn’t come to terms. Meal ideas with pork chops She says the city demolished the building and everything in it except for some stones from the pit, some memorabilia, “Best Barbecue” plaques and the booth she had saved before the demolition began. Perfect baked pork chops She moved the items to the back yard of her home.

Now, at that Walmart, Pam and I stood at the far end of the parking lot, in front of some bushes. Crock pot pork chops recipe cream of mushroom soup It was the exact spot where Aleck’s once operated.

Under a scorching Georgia sun, in a blue print dress and flats, Pam gestured at the space, re­imagining for me what was once there. How do you cook pork chops Here, a short-order grill called Limbo. Smoked pork chops Back there, the Pit O’ Hell. How to make tender juicy pork chops Upstairs, there was a live music lounge and a meeting space. Easy cook pork chops Black power activist Stokely Carmichael was among those who held meetings up there.