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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Ethnic Grocers in the Urban Midwest

In 2013, folklorist Lucy Long received an Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center to document the work-related experiences and occupational histories of ethnic grocery store owners and workers in several Midwestern cities, including Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, and Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Interviewees include store workers, managers and owners, and representatives of shops catering to Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Central and Eastern European communities. It features oral histories with workers in stand-alone groceries, those working in groceries attached to restaurants or ethnic shops, seasonal or temporary vendors, and food workers in market stalls and explores how ethnic groceries often serve as community focal points and provide an interface between ethnic and mainstream American culture.

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