If you didn’t live through it, it’s impossible to imagine what is was like for African Americans, even children, in the United States before the Civil Rights movement, especially in the American South. African Americans couldn’t attend the same schools as white children, couldn’t eat at the same restaurants, swim in the same pools, drink from the same water fountains. They often felt powerless, had trouble escaping poverty because of discrimination and limited options, and were shown a lack of respect and sometimes worse, including violence, because of their race. In almost every way African Americans were treated as if they were inferior.

The Civil Rights movement was the turning point for African Americans, who took a stand through sit-ins, marches and other nonviolent protests, against their unfair treatment and unequal rights.

February is Black History Month, and this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Civil Rights. Cong. John Lewis of Georgia, a son of sharecroppers in Alabama, was one of the leaders of the Civil Rights movement and the March on Washington, although he was only in his early 20s at the time.  He has remained a powerful advocate for the rights of minorities, including voting rights and economic equality, in his 13 years in the US Congress and 5 years in the Atlanta City Council before that.

For Black History Month, and in honor of John Lewis’s many years of hard work on behalf of the people of Georgia, I am sharing my twist on a traditional southern meal, Shrimp and Grits. It takes only 10 minutes to make from start to finish and is a great way to try grits, if you’ve never made them.

Grits, a traditional Southern grain made from ground corn, are low in calories and fat and have a decent amount of fiber per serving.  They are also rich in iron, thiamin and folic acid, so they’re a healthy indulgence, especially if you don’t stir in too much butter.

For a special Georgia-themed dessert, you might enjoy this traditional peach cobbler from Cooking My Life .

Recipe: Spice-Tossed Shrimp with Parmesan Grits

  • Total Time: 10 min(s)
  • Servings: 4
  • Enjoy creamy grits with flavorful shrimp.


      • 4 cups water
      • 1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) grits
      • ¼ - 1/2 tsp. salt
      • 1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
      • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or use shredded Cheddar cheese
      • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, or use tempeh for a vegetarian alternative
      • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
      • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
      • 1 tsp. salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
      • 1/2 tsp. chili powder, or use 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
      • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
      • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil


      In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Stir in the grits and 1/4 tsp. salt, reduce the heat, cover and simmer it for 5 minutes, removing the cover to stir it occasionally.  Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter or margarine and the cheese.

      Meanwhile, wrap the shrimp in a clean dishcloth to dry it thoroughly.

      In a medium bowl, combine the oregano, thyme, lemon pepper, chili powder, 1/4 tsp. salt (optional), and pepper.  Toss the shrimp thoroughly with the spices to coat it.

      In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  When it is very hot, add the shrimp and cook it for about 2 minutes per side until it is pink and firm.  Serve the shrimp immediately, spooned over the grits.

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    2 Responses to “Try Shrimp and Grits for Black History Month”

    1. Kaitlyn

      I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.

    2. Dandy Lion

      Why choose shrimp and grits to celebrate black history month? Grits were invented by Native Americans. Shrimp and grits was invented by a white man, Bill Neal, at Crook’s Corner in NC.