Programs Food is Power - Feeding Movements of Black Resistance Then and Now


  • Date:
    Mar 15, 2022
  • End Date:
    Mar 15, 2022
  • Time:
    7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Location:


This was an in-person program that was aired live from Aliko Dangote Hall on Tuesday, March 15nd at 7PM. You can watch the entire program below: 

See Video

Food is Power: Feeding Movements of Black Resistance Then and Now

Led by the author of Power Hungry: Women of the Black Panther Party and Freedom Party and Their Fight to Feed a Movement Dr. Suzanne Cope, join us as we interrogate how food has fueled social and political movements of the past and present, such as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and Black Lives Matter in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. This dialogue will feature scholars and activists of past and present including former Black Panther member Cleo Silver, Executive Director of FoodLab Detroit Devita Davison, and Allegra Massaro, co- founder of Fuel the People.

In-person tickets include admission to our exhibition African/American: Making the Nation’s Table (doors open at 6pm) along with two glasses of wine or non-alcoholic beverage.

Copies of Power Hungry will be available for signature + purchase on the night of the event or can be ordered online from our bookstore partner, BEM.

*This is an in-person event. You must show photo ID and proof of COVID vaccine to attend this event.


Suzanne Cope, PhD is a narrative journalist and food studies scholar with a focus on food as a tool for social and political change. In addition to her books POWER HUNGRY and SMALL BATCH (2014), she has written about food and culture for the New York Times, The Atlantic, BBCFood & Wine, among others. She also actively publishes and presents in academic forums and teaches courses on writing and food movements at New York University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

Devita Davison is the Executive Director of FoodLab Detroit, a nonprofit organization that fosters the creation of an equitable local food economy by providing food entrepreneurs with education, peer-to-peer mentoring, and access to market opportunities. Devita’s overall goal is to create a food economy that acknowledges the importance of food justice, community health, and local ownership. She honed the theory and practice of Equitable Food Oriented Development that is at the core of FoodLab’s work. Devita Davison was a 2017 TED speaker, a 2017 Grist Top 50 Leader in sustainability, and a 2019 Sustainability Champion. She is a graduate of Michigan State University where she received a B.S. in Social Science.
Allegra Tomassa Massaro is an activist and co-founder of Fuel the People, a grassroots food justice organization in New York City and Washington, D.C. that feeds protesters on the front lines and fights food insecurity through partnerships with local Black & POC chefs and restaurants. Currently based in Washington, D.C., Allegra is a Philadelphia native and Bryn Mawr College graduate with a background in city planning and deep roots in community organizing. She is passionate about understanding food as agency and centering Black life and Black joy in pursuits of justice.
Cleo Silvers began her career in community and labor organizing as a VISTA Volunteer and activist in the South Bronx beginning in 1966. She was co-founder of the Trinity Avenue Block Association, the Jackson Avenue Block Association and the Kelly Street Block Association, Lincoln Detox, and the Think Lincoln Committee (TLC), a coalition of members of the community, interns and doctors, Young Lords and Black Panthers and hospital workers. Cleo had the honor of becoming a member of the Black Panther Party and later the Young Lords Party as well as co-chairperson of HRUM. Silvers returned to Detroit and began her career as a labor organizer while working as an auto worker at the Dodge Truck plant in Detroit, Michigan. During her time at the auto plant, she was an active member of the second-line leadership of the Black Workers Congress. In 1995, Silvers became the Executive Director of For A Better Bronx, an environmental Justice nonprofit organization in the South Bronx, New York. Later, she was hired as Director of Corporate Education at Long Island University (LIU) School of Continuing Education.At the age of 60, Cleo graduated Suma Cum Laude and was the class valedictorian when she received a bachelor’s degree in Labor Relations from Cornell University. Cleo is now actively retired in Memphis, Tennessee.