From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)
Malvern Hill (Eothan), ice house.jpg
A horse pulling blocks of ice.jpg
Ice Cream Pails.jpg

Ice Cream, Sugar and Slavery Up to the 1900s

Written by Reinette F. Jones, March 19, 2020

This entry highlights the placement of enslaved Africans and the contributions of African Americans in the making, selling, buying, and consumption of ice cream. This entry also highlights information about Kentucky's place in the history of ice cream.

No individual or geographic location can be credited with the invention of ice cream. The complete history is complicated and includes all people and all lands inhabited by humans. There is also quite a bit of unsubstantiated folklore and conflicting data. New information continues to be found that helps to fill the gaps.

For those from the African diaspora, there is a long-ago affiliation with the ingredients used to make ice cream. The connection is thought to go back to what is said to be the first ice cream cup found in an Egyptian tomb from the Second Dynasty (2700 BC), though the search is still on to locate references to support this claim. In other lands, a kind of sorbet or sweetened ice was said to have been produced during the Persian Achaemenid Empire (500 B.C.), along with other sweet iced treats in early Greece, Japan, Turkey, the Middle East, and many other geographic locations. A form of ice cream was said to have been made with dairy in China around 200 B.C. and during the Tang Dynasty around 618 A.D. Kulfi is a frozen evaporated milk dessert made in India that originated during the Mughal Empire in the 16th century.

[Sources: S. Carnazzi, "A short history of ice cream"; see also Acast; Ice Cream: a global history, by L. B. Weiss; Novel Dairy Processing Technologies, edited by M. R. Goyal et. al; and The Black Innovators of Ice Cream History from Ample Hills Creamery.]

Ice cream is defined as a rich, frozen dessert made with cream or custard, sugar, flavorings, and often  eggs [source: The International Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, by K. Anderson and L. E. Anderson]. Ice cream was a food for rulers and royalty; the tradition continued when it arrived in Europe during the 1600s. The dish was perfected in Italy and France, and it served as a luxury treat for queens and kings, future U.S. presidents, aristocrats, and the upper class.

The sugar used in early European ice cream came from the colonial sugar cane plantations. The sugar cane plant, native to Polynesia, later spread to New Guinea, China, India, the Middle East, and North Africa. The first sugar cane plantations worked by the enslaved were off the west coast of Africa and owned by Portugal. The laborers were originally indentured and convict Jews that included orphaned children and children separated from their parents, all having been expelled from Portugal. They were soon replaced by enslaved Africans from Angola (Angolars) and other African nations. The plantations were developed in the 1490s on the island of São Tomé and Príncipe, located in the Gulf of Guinea. The African sugar arrived in Europe about a century before the arrival of ice cream.

São Tomé would become the largest producer of sugar for Europe, producing as much as 2,000 tons of sugar annually. By 1580, the sugar production had decreased because of invasions by other countries, pirates, and enslaved rebellions. In 1595, Rei Amador, an Angolar, led the rebellion that defeated the Portuguese. It was the first successful sugar cane plantation rebellion by enslaved Africans.

Amador was then named King and the Angolars temporarily ruled the island of São Tomé and Príncipe. Rei Amador was captured a year later, imprisoned, and executed by the Portuguese. The Angolars were then re-enslaved. São Tomé would become a holding place for enslaved Africans during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Neighboring islands were acquired by Spain to develop the Spanish slave trade. On São Tomé the sugar cane plantations were replaced by coffee and cacao plantations. Slavery was abolished in São Tomé in 1875.

In the mid-1500s, the Portuguese use of enslaved Africans to work sugar cane plantations moved from the African islands to Brazil, which thereby replaced São Tomé as the main producer of sugar for Europe. Brazil was also a major importer of African enslaved (an estimated 4.5 million between 1600 and 1850). Slavery did not end in Brazil until 1888.

Other European nations had followed the Portuguese plan, and soon enslaved Africans were brought to the Caribbean to work the sugar cane plantations. Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba would each have their turn at being the leading sugar producer. Eventually, the sugar plantations worked by enslaved Africans got to be too costly, and on various islands the enslaved were gaining their freedom. At that time, Chinese and indentured laborers from India were brought to the Caribbean to work the sugar plantations. New land was sought for more sugar plantations, and in 1742 the sugar cane plantations came to the United States by way of Haiti. Around the same time, the making of ice cream arrived in the U.S. colonies from Europe, but few could afford to make ice cream because it was an expensive treat.

There had been a kind of sherbet, helado de paila, made by the Caranquis in the Ecuador region long before the Caranquis were conquered by the Incas in the 1400s. Other sources attribute helado de paila to Rosalia Suarez in 1897. In any case, hardly anything has been written about the types of sweetened ices and ice cream made by the indigenous peoples in the Americas other than Akutaq, a non-dairy ice cream. Today Akutaq is made (by hand) by indigenous peoples in Alaska and northern Canada. The older recipes used fish or game, berries, plants, and animal fat. The sparse information about indigenous ice desserts was not a concern during the late 1920s when the Indian ice cream mold apparatus became a favorite purchase in the United States (see image at the National Museum of American History).

[Sources: Helados de Paila in Ecuador: A Tradition Frozen in Time; Trade and Empire in the Atlantic, 1400 and 1600 by D. Birmingham; International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-1988, 2nd Revised Edition, by B. R. Mitchell; Amsterdam's Sephardic Merchants and the Atlantic Sugar Trade in the Seventeenth Century, by Y. Schreuder; and Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio.]

In various African countries, European-style ice cream was also made, sold, bought, and eaten. Early documentation is not as readily available as that for European countries, but newspapers from the 1800s provide a good starting point for  research. Ice cream was served in South Africa as early as the 1840s and was one of the foods sold at the 1868 agriculture show in Pietermaritzburg [source: "The City Gaieties," The Natal Witness, 5/27/1868, p. 2]. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, ice cream vendors began selling ice cream on the streets in 1899. (source: "The Advance of Civilization," Sierra Leone Weekly News, p. 14, col. 1, 11/18/1899.) The West African Manufacturing & Development Company Limited (1901) came under new management and continued supplying ice, ice cream, and other refreshments in Freetown in 1902 [source: "The West African Manufacturing & Development Co., Ltd.," Sierra Leone Weekly News, 3/1/1902, p. 11]. Ice cream was also sold on the streets of Beira, Mozambique; in 1903 the Mozambique Company issued licenses at a cost of £1 to hawkers of ice cream, fruit, and iced drinks [source: "Mozambique Co.," Beira Post, 1/3/1903, p. 3]. Ice cream was also available in Madagascar, Rhodesia, and Nyasaland [newspaper sources: late 1800 issues of Madagascar Times, The Rhodesia Herald, and The Central African Times]. The introduction of ice cream in various African countries has not been considered a key event in the many written histories about the continent and countries. More research is needed.

In the United States, French-Creole Monsieur Collot was an ice cream maker in Philadelphia. In some writings, he is referred to as a French confectioner. He had left San Domingo (formerly in Haiti) during the enslaved rebellions. In 1740 with the use of slave labor, Saint Domingue (Haiti) and Jamaica had become the main sugar producers in the world. Slavery would end in Jamaica between 1834-1838. In Haiti, the enslaved rebellions against the French colonel rulers started in 1791, ending in 1804 when the enslaved gained their freedom. It is referred to as the most successful slave rebellion in the Western Hemisphere, and it caused the worst drop in sugar production to date.

During the rebellions, those who could were leaving Haiti and taking their enslaved with them. The French Creoles were welcomed in Philadelphia, PA, where approximately 5,000 of the refugees settled starting in 1791. Slavery was said to have officially ended in Pennsylvania in 1780, but the last enslaved person was not freed until 1847 [source: C. Owens, "Pennsylvania officially abolished slavery in 1780. But many black Pennsylvanians were in bondage long after that," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/27/2019, (online)]. Monsieur Collot, the ice cream maker from Haiti, was one of the refugees in Pennsylvania, a freeman. As early as 1795, Collot was advertising his business in the Pennsylvania Packet newspaper, assuring potential customers of the quality of his Italian style ice cream. Collot is also noted as one of the early African Americans who opened a pleasure garden in Philadelphia. A pleasure garden served ice cream and other refreshments and provided entertainment.

[Sources: p. 83 in Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio; pp.12-13 in Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American ice cream, by A. C. Funderburg; Haitian Revolution at the Encyclopaedia Britannica website; The African American Contribution to Philadelphia Ice Cream @ the History of Ice Cream in Philadelphia website; The Haitian Revolution: a documentary history, edited and translated by D. Geggus; and Different Drummers: rhythm and race in the Americas by M. Munro.]

Monsieur Collot's ice cream was made the same as it was in Europe during the 1700s. The process required natural ice that had to be found and cut from the pond or other ice source, then retrieved and stored in sheds or in underground buildings, where the ice was covered with sawdust, hay, or straw. In Europe, the gathering of ice was a job performed by enslaved males and servants. Among the enslaved and servants in Europe were enslaved Africans, who for centuries were sold in European countries. Among those enslaved Africans were cooks and confectioners who also made ice cream, much like the enslaved Africans in the United States. 

Making ice cream took a lot of preparation time, physical strength, and ingredients that were sometimes scarce. In addition to the ice, salt, sugar, fresh cream, eggs, milk, and flavoring were also needed. Some confectioners added seafood, fresh fruit, vegetables, and other foods. The ice cream batter was slowly cooked over low heat until it resembled custard, then cooled for several hours in a cold-keep. For the final steps, ice would be broken into chips. The chips would be sprinkled with salt and placed around the container holding the ice cream mixture; the salt lowered the dew point of the ice to keep it colder longer. The container with the ice cream mixture would be turned and spun in the ice while the ice cream mixture was stirred as it froze into a more solid form. Once completed, the ice cream was put into cheese molds to give it shape, then placed in a cold storage container until ready to be served. Ice cream did not keep for a long period of time, so it had to be eaten soon after it was made.

[Sources: Harvest of the Cold Months, by E. David and J. Norman; History of Slavery in Europe, an International Slavery Museum website; Black Africans in Renaissance Europe, edited by T. F. Earle and K. J. P. Lowe; The Atlantic Slave Trade, edited by J. E. Inikori and S. L. Engerman; and Atlas of Slavery, by J. Walvin.]

The salt and sugar used for the making of ice cream were expensive spices. At one time, salt was used as currency and traded for gold. During the 1700s salt was an expensive product; it was also taxed. Using salt to make ice cream was costly, and some recipes gave tips on how to gather and reuse the salt for more than one purpose. Sugar too was expensive; it was such a valued commodity that it was sometimes locked away. The price of sugar would start to decline with the cultivation of sugar cane in the Caribbean plantations. In 1700, the per capita sugar consumption was four pounds per year in England, increasing to 18 pounds per year by 1800. During war times, invasions, and enslaved rebellions at the plantations, the price of shipping sugar from the Caribbean to Europe increased. The costs could double and continue to increase until more peaceful times came to the colonies. Freight costs ranged from 3s 6d per cwt* up to 15s 9d per cwt. The shipping of sugar from the Caribbean to Europe was a part of the triangular route of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The United States also bought sugar from the British West Indies.

In the making of ice cream, the imported sugar had to be purified before it could be added with other ingredients, a process that could take a few hours. The less refined raw sugars were sold in hard loaves, brown in color, and filled with impurities. Clumps of the sugar had to be knocked or broken from the loaf, ground, then purified and refined through an elaborate cooking process using water and beaten egg whites. When taken off the fire, the skim on top of the water, which contained  impurities, would be removed and the remaining sugar strained. If necessary, the process was repeated until the final result was white sugar, because dark sugar would taint the color of the ice cream.

[Sources: Salt: a world history, by M. Kurlansky; Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American ice cream, by A. C. Funderburg; Sweetness and Power: the place of sugar in modern history, by S. W. Mintz; Sugar: Refining and Processing, a webpage by the Sugar Association; The Science Inside Your Ice Cream, August 20, 2021 at the Scientific American website; and J. R. Ward, "The Profitability of sugar planting in the British West Indies, 1650-1834," The Economic History Review, New Series, vol. 31, no. 2, (May 1978), pp. 197-213.]

1. cwt = hundredweight. Long hundredweight was 112 pounds in England. Short hundredweight was 100 pounds in the United States.

1. 15% overall mortality in the gathering enslaved in Africa.
2. 15% overall enslaved mortality on the voyage from Africa.
3. 50% infant mortality in the Caribbean.
4. 25% death rate of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean.
5. Five million enslaved Africans brought to the Caribbean.
The Atlantic Slave Trade, edited by J. E. Inikori and S. L. Engerman; The Caribbean Slave: A Biological History, by K. F. Kiple; and David Lambert, "An introduction to the Caribbean, empire and slavery," British Library, West Indian Regiments (online).

18.51£            21.90£ per cwt                                1674
23.39£            43.12£ per cwt                                1700
35.88£            38.83£ per cwt                                1750
41.09£            28.12£ per cwt                                1800
Table 2. Slave prices and sugar prices in the Caribbean: 1674-1807, p. 679. D. Eltis, F. D. Lewis, & D. Richardson, "Slave prices, the African slave trade, and productivity in the Caribbean, 1674-1807," Economic History Review, LVIII, 4 (2005), pp. 673-700.

Wholesale Price Per Quart      in the U.S./Year
$1                                                    1832 (Augustus Jackson)
60 cents                                          1851 (Baltimore, MD)
25 cents                                          1851 (Jacob Fussell)
Wholesale Price Per Gallon     in the U.S./ YEAR
78 cents                                          1909
82 cents                                          1916
$1.12                                               1922
Ice Cream Statistics in "The Growth of Ice Cream," The Ice Cream Review, February 1923, p. 48; and Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio.

Price Per Pound                       in the U.S./Year
10 cents                                             1856
14 cents                                             1870
 5  cents                                             1900
 5  cents                                             1909
 7  cents                                             1916
 6  cents                                             1922
SOURCE: Bicentennial Edition: Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial times to 1957. Prices and Price Indexes, Series E 123-134. Wholesale prices of selected commodities: 1800-1970, p. 208.

According to John B. Rehder, Jesuits from St. Domingue (Haiti) were the first to introduce sugar cane for cultivation in New Orleans, LA, in 1742 [source: Rehder, J. B., "Sugar plantations in Louisiana," pp. 111-125, available online @, Rehder1979_op.pdf]. By 1803, there were as many as 75 sugar cane cultivation sites in the New Orleans area. It was also in the year 1803 that the United States acquired the Louisiana Territory from France [Louisiana Purchase]. The sugar industry in the United States was able to grow and eventually flourish to produce about 8% of the total sugar production in the world. The success in the U.S. was due in part to the high tariffs placed on imported Caribbean sugar and the decline in the sugar exports from St. Domingue (Haiti) because of the enslaved rebellions. As it was in the Caribbean, enslaved Africans worked the Louisiana sugar plantations. About 40,000 free and enslaved Africans were in New Orleans in 1791, which included the enslaved and the French Creole refugees from St. Domingue (Haiti). News of the enslaved rebellions in Haiti had given fuel to the attempted enslaved rebellions in Louisiana. In 1795, the Louisiana Territory was still owned by Spain, and those thought to be conspirators in the planned uprising were hanged or shipped to Cuba to labor in the sugar plantations. The importing of enslaved Africans from St. Domingue (Haiti) to Louisiana ceased. In 1800, Spain returned the Louisiana Territory to France, and three years later, France sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States.

[Sources: The Sugar Masters: planters and slaves in Louisiana's cane world, 1820-1860, by R. Follett; Coolies and Cane: race, labor, and sugar in the age of emancipation, by M. Jung; and Different Drummers: rhythm and race in the Americas, by M. Munro]

In 1806, Frederic Tudor (1783-1864), an ice exporter from Boston, MA, attempted to promote his ice business on the island of Martinique by convincing an establishment owner to sell ice cream to the "natives." The establishment owner is said to have earned more than $300 from the ice cream sales. Tudor rightly assumed that ice cream would be a hit. However, the use of the term "natives" applied to the free population in Martinique; they were the ones purchasing the ice cream. On the island of Martinique, the enslaved were Africans brought to the island to work the sugar plantations. During Frederic Tudor's visit to Martinique in 1806, a period of unsuccessful enslaved rebellions took place, along with the taking and retaking of the island between the French and the British. Slavery in Martinique, which was a French colony, would be abolished in 1848. Tudor's idea of making ice cream in 1806 was a welcomed treat, though the promotional stunt did not gain the expected results for Tudor's ice sales, so he returned to the United States.

Prior to the War of 1812, Tudor next promoted the consumption of ice and ice cream in Cuba. Cuba had become the largest producer of sugar after slavery ended in Haiti in 1804. The sugar plantations in Cuba were worked by enslaved Africans brought to the island from Africa, along with those who had fled Haiti during the rebellions and were re-enslaved when they reached Cuba. England's Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 was meant to abolish slavery in the British colonies. With the British pushing Cuba, a Spanish territory, to free African enslaved, Cuban plantation owners brought in Chinese workers. For other plantations, indentured laborers from India were brought to the sugar colonies. Still, slavery continued in Cuba, where it had started in the 16th century and did not end until 1886. Frederic Tudor's ice business would become a success: he owned icehouses among the southern states of the U.S., in the Caribbean, and in overseas locations, including the homelands of those who made up the new labor forces on the Caribbean sugar plantations.

[Sources: Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American Ice Cream, by A. C. Funderburg; The Ice King: Frederic Tudor and his circle, by S. Paterson; Slavery in the Circuit of Sugar, 2nd ed., by D. W. Tomich; Voices of the Enslaved in Nineteenth-Century Cuba, by G. G. Rodriguez; and Sugar: the world corrupted: from slavery to obesity, by J. Walvin]

The ice cream industry was viewed as an insignificant industry within the U.S. economy prior to the year 1900. "Manufacture of ice cream must not be reported. The reason for this omission is that, as a rule, the industry is carried on in connection with the general confectionery business, and if reports were secured from the few establishments that make a specialty of the manufacture of ice cream the statistics would have no significance." [Source: Thirteenth Census of the United States, Volume VIII, Manufactures 1909, Appendix B, p. 804 [online at U.S. Census Bureau website]].

In spite of the early disregard for including ice cream data in the manufacturing census, the production and selling of ice cream continued to be a steadily growing industry in the United States. The dessert became a high-demand food, with the ice cream industry proving that it had staying power. Starting in 1919, annual statistics were published for the production of ice cream. The ice cream manufacturing boom came to Kentucky after the year 1900.

[Source: Bibliography on Ice Cream, up to and including the year 1926, compiled by C. B. Sherfy and N. W. Smallwood, Bureau of Dairy Industry, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Library, Bibliographical Contributions, no. 17, March 1928 (online at Google Books).]

     4,000 gallons             1859
   24,000 gallons             1869
  144,000 gallons            1879
  851,000 gallons            1889
5,021,000 gallons           1899
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
1.4 billion gallons            2017
Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789-1945 {incorrect title listed on webpage}, June 1947. Chapter E. Agriculture. Series E 152-164, Dairying - Cows Kept for Milk on Farms, Milk Produced and Sold, Manufactured Dairy Products: 1849-1945, pp. 103-104. Online at the U.S. Census Bureau website; and 2021 data from the IDFA International Dairy Foods Association website

Jacob Fussell (1819-1912), a white abolitionist Quaker from Baltimore, MD, was the first ice cream wholesaler in the United States. Jacob Fussell was also a Republican who served as a secretary at the 1856 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, PA [source: "Republican Convention," Daily National Intelligencer, 6/20/1856]. Fussell was a milk dealer who in 1851 started making ice cream in his first ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, PA. After two years, he returned to Baltimore to sell ice cream, and the Seven Valleys plant was taken over by a new owner. Fussell was able to sell his ice cream for 25 cents per quart. [A quarter or 25 cents in 1850 would be equivalent to $8.25 today (CPI Inflation Calculator). A quart of ice cream is equivalent to eight scoops of ice cream (i love ice]. Fussell's ice cream was not cheap, nor was ice cream in general. In fact, his price was less than half the standard price of 60 cents per quart. He was able to undercut others' prices because of the increase in output at his factory. More detailed accounts are written about his ice cream business than his abolitionist work with the Underground Railroad helping enslaved persons escape. After the U.S. Civil War, he is said to have financed a housing development for African Americans, Fussell Court.

[Sources: Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio; and Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American ice cream, by A. C. Funderburg] 

Jacob Fussell of Maryland should not be confused with Jacob Fussell of Telfair County, GA, who was a Whig slave owner.

The manufacturing of ice cream in the United States was a new venture; most ice cream was still made by individuals in the 1850s, and ice cream was still a fairly new food available to the general public in the United States. European ice cream had been considered a luxury food that was rarely made in the U.S. prior to the U.S. Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The emerging ice cream parlors and saloons in the 1800s were segregated, and they were thought to sell a better quality of ice cream than that sold on the street. Most of the street vendors, also referred to as peddlers, were immigrants selling a taste of half-frozen ice cream for a penny or two. The ice cream was served in a glass that would be wiped out with a rag after each use, or a small block of cheaply made ice cream was sold wrapped in paper. The sale of ice cream on the street from pushcarts, wheelbarrows, or buckets and tins, had also started in the 1820s in New York City. Ice cream vendors had been a more common sight in European cities, and later in the century they were present in African countries.

After the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), the number of ice cream vendors increased in other major U.S. cities, with a few going to cities in the south, such as New Orleans. Many of the immigrant vendors were poor, trying to make a living selling ice cream. They tended to live in overcrowded tenements, so there was concern that the ice cream was made in unsanitary environments. Among the street vendors in Philadelphia were "coloured gentlemen" who sold their ice creams in the tin cans carried upon their shoulders. They were said to shout the loudest when hawking their ice cream.

As a side note, not all ice cream was good ice cream, and that included ice cream sold in saloons and parlors. Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, there were numerous newspaper reports of ice cream poisonings in the U.S. and other countries. Jim Johnson, an African American ice cream seller in Greensboro, NC was arrested and jailed in 1872 for poisoning his customers. Eighty-five years later, it would be in Greensboro where the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In took place challenging segregated facilities. 

[Sources: Ice Cream: a global history, by L. B. Weiss; Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making by J. Quinzio; "The Negro Poisoners," The Milwaukee Sentinel, 8/15/1872, vol. XXIX, issue 192; "Wholesale poisoning by ice cream," The Dundee Courier & Argus, 7/30/1896, p. 4; and "Look out for Poisoned Ice Cream," Inter Ocean, 8/10/1875, p. 7.] 

But long before the U.S. court cases fighting segregated ice cream establishments occurred, ice cream would have to become more available to the general public. By the mid-1850s, ice cream was less expensive than it had been due to mechanization. Ice cream could be made using machines and kept in a more stable cold thanks to the advancements of mechanical refrigeration, which allowed ice cream to become a more readily available treat for purchase outside the home and stored longer there, as well. Between 1859 and 1869, the production of ice cream escalated from 4,000 gallons per year to 24,000 gallons per year. All of these changes were not only taking place in the U.S. and Europe. Lings and Keith, a company in London, England, produced patent refrigerators and economical apparatuses for making ice cream. One ad for the machines was on the front page of the on August 5, 1848 Journal newspaper, which was published as Graham's Town Journal in *Graham's Town, South Africa.

*Present-day spelling is Grahamstown, South Africa.

[Sources: Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio; Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American Ice Cream, by A. C. Funderburg; Frozen Desserts, by C. Liddell and R Weir; and Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789-1945 [incorrect title listed on webpage], June 1947. Chapter E. Agriculture. Series E 152-164, Dairying - Cows Kept for Milk on Farms, Milk Produced and Sold, Manufactured Dairy Products: 1849-1945, pp. 103-104. Online at the U.S. Census Bureau website.]

In New York in 1821, a freeman named William Alexander Brown owned a "pleasure garden," a commercial establishment that made and sold ice cream and other refreshments [source: p. 83 in Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio]. The facility also provided entertainment. Brown had started the business because African Americans could not enter the ice cream gardens in New York City. His pleasure garden was located on the west side of the city. It lasted only a brief period because complaints were made about the noise at the black-owned business in an affluent area of the city. Alexander Brown is better known for his pioneering work establishing the first African American theater and theater company and for being an early African American playwright and theatrical producer [sources: A History of African American Theatre, by E. G. Hill and J. V. Hatch; and Discovering Black America, by L. Tarrant-Reid].

Around the time that the pleasure garden opened in New York, a free woman named Sallie Shadd sold ice cream in Wilmington, DE. First Lady Dolly Madison liked Shadd's ice cream so much that she would serve it at the White House during the period James Madison was President of the United States, 1809-1817 [source: p. 35 in Ice Cream: a global history, by L. B. Weiss]. Augustus Jackson had served as the White House cook during the Madison administration; during this time, he learned to make ice cream. Jackson later moved to Philadelphia, PA, where he opened a catering business around 1832 and supplied ice cream to the city's ice cream parlors [source: p. 32 in Ice Cream: a global history, by L. B. Weiss]. His ice cream sold for 1$ per quart, according to  "Manufacturer of ice cream" in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/3/1930, p. 10. A freeman named Peter Scudder had been a shoe shiner and apple peddler at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), and by the 1850s, he was a businessman with a store that sold candy and ice cream [source: "New Jersey," by Yvette Liebesman, on p. 553 in Encyclopedia of Free Blacks and People of Color in the Americas, by S. R. King].

Most of what has been written about the earliest African American-owned ice cream establishments and companies pertains to those located in the northeastern United States. By 1842, ice cream business advertisements and notices could be found in African American newspapers in New York, such as the Northern Star and Freeman's Advocate, Weekly Anglo-African, and National Anti-Slavery Standard. By the mid-1800s, there were more advertisements in publications such as The Christian Recorder (Philadelphia), and Provincial Freeman (Toronto, Canada), as well as  in southern newspapers such as Colored Citizen (Cincinnati, OH), New Orleans TribuneLoyal Georgian, and Colored Tennessean. Announcements in African American newspapers in the west, including Elevator, a newspaper in California. As more organizations and individuals published newspapers, directories, compendiums, and other African American specific publications, there was more information about those who manufactured and sold ice cream.

John S. Hicks from Virginia was employed in a bakery and ice cream factory in Massachusetts before going into business for himself until 1873. He then moved to Erie, PA and developed his ice cream and confections factory. The business used more than 3,000 pounds of sugar each year and paid $1,500 for ice, all for the making of ice cream. Also in Erie was the James Franklin Ice Cream Manufacturing Co. John S. Trower, also from Virginia, had an ice cream plant in Germantown, PA. By 1910 there were other African American ice cream makers and sellers in Pennsylvania: Arthur Rothwell, Charles Brown, Drew's Palm Garden, James A. Summers, and Robert Diggs.

[Sources: The Negro in Business, by B. T. Washington; and Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory, 1910.] 

In Kansas, two African American women in the city of Atchison, Miss Ingrams and Miss Holmes, opened an ice cream parlor in 1897 at the corner of 6th and Santa Fe Streets [source: bottom of column "The College preparatory school held its closing exercises to-day ...," The Atchison Daily Globe, 5/28/1897, p. 4]. R.S. Burns had also owned an ice cream parlor and restaurant in Atchison in 1882 [source: p. 35 in Atchison Directory. City and County. For 1882-83].

In February 1897, Alfred I. Cralle received a patent [#576,395] for inventing an ice cream scoop. Cralle was an African American from Virginia who had migrated to Pittsburgh, PA [sources: pp. 152-153 in Of Sugar and Snow: a history of ice cream making, by J. Quinzio; and Alfred L. Cralle (1866-1920), a webpage].
S. L. Parker in Laurel, DE, manufactured ice cream for wholesale and retail as early as 1902. Paul C. Easleyowned an ice cream parlor in Richmond, VA and had a steam ice cream factory that produced ice cream for wholesale and retail. [Source: Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings]. William Dooley had an ice cream factory in Memphis, TN in 1908. Those who sold ice cream in Memphis included W. W. Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Fisher, Ed. B. Martin, Hick's Cafe, P. E. Witt, and L. C. Moore. [Source: The Bright Side of Memphis, by G. P. Hamilton].

Kentucky is one of the many states without a significant archive of early African American newspapers and business publications. Alternative sources of information include census records and city directories. The names of African Americans are noted in the city directories with an asterisk (*), the letter "c", or the word "(cld)." Though the documentation is not as old as that in northeastern states, there were African American-owned ice cream establishments in Kentucky. One of the first owners was Henry Floke (or Florke),  whose ice cream saloon was in Henderson [source: 1870 census]. The business-owners in Louisville included Ann Johnson, who owned an ice cream saloon at 231 Green Street in 1872 [source: p. 278 in Caron's Annual Directory of the City of Louisville for 1872] and E. Stevenson, who owned an ice cream saloon on Jackson Street in 1873 [source: p. 497 in the 1873 directory]. In 1875, Mrs. Susan Green owned an ice cream saloon in Lexington at 51 Market Street. She is the only African American listed among the four ice cream saloon owners on p. 277 of Prather's Lexington City Directory for 1875 and 1876. In 1889, Vina Alexander sold ice cream at her home at 622 W. 5th Street in Owensboro [source: Bennett & Co.'s Owensboro City Directory for 1889-90, p. 24].

There were also African Americans from Kentucky who sold ice cream in other states, as noted in the U.S. Census. Among the names in the 1880 Census is Randolph Barnett, an ice cream dealer in Zanesville, OH. Carter Ferguson had an ice cream parlor in Columbus, OH. In Cincinnati, OH, Abraham Williams had an ice cream saloon, as did Rolla Prier, and Richard Forrest was an ice cream dealer. N. W. Barbour had an ice cream shop in St. Louis, MO. 

There were not many ice cream makers in In New Orleans in spite of the early sugar plantations. By 1860, three of the ice cream business owners in New Orleans were Vincent M. Etti from Italy, Francois Renand from France, and Willis Wise, a Louisiana native [source: 1860 U.S. Census]. Among African Americans, W. W. Harris owned an ice cream saloon at 357 Common St. [source: p. 214 in Gardner's New Orleans Directory for 1866]; J. B. Guitton owned an ice cream saloon at 98 Elysian Fields [source: p. 186 in the 1867 directory]; and August Dupin, an ice cream vendor who lived at 340 Customhouse [source: p. 147 in the 1868 directory]. There were at least five ice cream manufacturers and confectioneries listed in New Orleans in The National Negro Business Directory, p. 13, in 1918: P. B. Kaufman, National Ice Cream Company, Orleans Ice Cream Works, Special Ice Cream Works, and Albert Toca. Today, the state of Louisiana ranks 46th among U.S. states in ice cream consumption, right behind Kentucky, number 45 [source:
 Biggest Ice Cream Consumers by State, July 10, 2018, blog].

At the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Professor George Washington Carver (1860s-1943) was a scientist and inventor. Soybeans and peanuts were two of the foods he researched, using both to produce milk, ice cream, and other foods. Carver arrived at Tuskegee Institute in 1896 and remained there as a professor for 47 years. It was in 1919 that he first planned to make ice cream from peanut milk. The peanut is a native food of South America (Peru and Brazil), going back to at least 900 B.C. Spanish explorers took the peanut to Spain and then on to Africa and Asia in the 1600s. Goober is an African word for the peanut. Peanuts were one of the foods fed to enslaved Africans being taken to destinations in Europe and the Americas, and thus peanuts arrived in the U.S. in the 1700s by way of the enslavement trade.

In the U.S. and the Caribbean, peanuts were initially thought to be a trash food, grown to be eaten by the enslaved and pigs. The attitude started to change, however, as the enslaved introduced meals cooked with peanuts and the use of peanuts as a snack food. The French Creoles who left Haiti during the slave rebellions (1791-1804) and settled in Philadelphia had brought their enslaved with them, among whom were cooks who introduced Philadelphia to Caribbean cooking with peanuts. The U.S. commercial market for peanuts would become more prominent after the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865); both the Union and Confederate soldiers had sustained their diets with peanuts, a high protein food. George Washington Carver was born during the U.S. Civil War. About 30 years later he took the peanut to a completely new level with his research at Tuskegee Institute. He is also remembered for his work with soybeans, though he was not the first to present the idea of making ice cream from soybean milk.

In 1918 Arao Itano from Japan was recognized as the first person to conceive of the idea of making ice cream from soybean milk. The first person to actually make the soy ice cream was George Washington Carver. At a meeting of the 1921 Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, Professor Carver presented proof of the 145 different foods he had created from soybeans, including his ice cream. Carver's work with peanuts and soybeans did not create a market in Alabama for peanut milk, soymilk, or the ice cream made from either foods. Today, Alabama is ranked number 50 in ice cream consumption among the U.S. states and Washington D. C. Alabama is just one above number 51 Minnesota.

ources: A History of Modern Soy Protein Ingredients - Isolates, Concentrates, and Textured Soy Protein Products (1911-2016): extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebookcompiled by W. Shurtleff and A. Aoyagi, 2016 (online at SoyInfo Center); History of Soy Ice Cream and Other Non-dairy Frozen Desserts (1899-2013): extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebook, compiled by W. Shurtleff and A. Aoyagi, 2013 (online at SoyInfo Center); "At a recent session...," St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 4/3/1921, p. 3; George Washington Carver: a life, by C. Vella; Peanuts: the illustrious history of the Goober Pea, by A. F. Smith; and Biggest Ice Cream Consumers by State, July 10, 2018, blog.]

Ice cream is marketed as a fun food for good times and bad. Have a romantic breakup? Eat some ice cream to help heal the broken heart. Fall down and get a boo-boo? Eat some ice cream and make it all better. Feeling wonderful at a social occasion surrounded by family and friends? Eat some ice cream to top it all off.

But there is a twist when it comes to African Americans and ice cream. First, there is the challenge of locating the free research. Most often, the results from a general keyword search in a library catalog will result in titles of fiction and poetry or titles that have little or nothing to do with the history of African Americans and ice cream. A more accurate search would be the use of subject terms or a combined search with subject terms and keyword terms such as "African Americans" and "ice cream." Depending on the catalog or database being searched, there is a very real likelihood of no hits. With trial, error, and persistence, however, there should be a few sources with the mention of African American individuals eating ice cream made by family members, ice cream purchased or sold at segregated establishments, ice cream parlors and the fight for civil rights, or photographs of African Americans eating ice cream. A sample of the potential results is the mention of an ice cream parlor in the basement of Mr. Callaway's house in  African Americans in Glencoe, by R. A. Sideman; the Butler Brothers' ice cream and catering establishment mentioned in African Americans in Sewickley Valley, by B. Cole and A. Redcross; an image from the Southern Labor Archives, African Americans at a Segregated Malt Bar; and the fight for civil rights surrounding the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In by D. Daniels, Research Branch, NC Office of Archives and History, 2007, a NCpedia website.

Older African American business directories and race progress reports, along with general city directories, government publications, and U.S. and individual state census records, will all yield the names and occupations of African Americans such as Henry Floke (or Florke), who owned an ice cream saloon in Kentucky in 1870. A Google image search will bring up hundreds of stock photographs showing African Americans smiling and having a good time while eating ice cream. These same types of images can be found in ice cream advertisements. Marketing research reports show African Americans really enjoying ice cream; African Americans are said to buy ice cream at a high rate each week and month (see sources below). There are also articles in health and medical journals that mention ice cream and African Americans in relation to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other diseases, along with studies on poor food choice habits.

[Sources: "Consumer research has shown that children and African-American households eat more types of ice cream products and also consume more servings during a 30-day period," S. Barrette, "Ice Cream Parlors: NAICS Code: 722213   SIC Code: 5812," SBDCNet (Small Business Development Center Network), published November 30, 2004; Y. Yang, et. al., "Favorite foods of older adults living in the Black Belt Region of the United States: influences of ethnicity, gender, and education," Appetite, April 2013, vol. 63, pp. 18-23 (online at PMC); J. Dinoia and D. Thompson, "Processes of change for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among economically disadvantaged African American adolescents," Eating Behaviors, vol. 13, issue 1, January 2012, pp. 58-61; A Provider's Handbook on Culturally Competent Care: African American Population, 2nd ed., by Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council and the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Department, 2003 (online); and L. A. Wise, et. al., "Is the observed association between dairy intake and fibroids in African Americans explained by genetic ancestry?," American Journal of Epidemiology, vol. 178, Issue 7, 10/1/2013, pp. 114–1119 (online).]

Among various medical conditions, African Americans are also said to be one of the groups with the highest rates of lactose intolerance. Ice cream, a dairy product, is said to be consumed by African Americans at a high rate. If this is the case, then more research is needed to better explain the co-existing relationship between high rates of lactose intolerance and high rates of ice cream consumption among African Americans. There are also articles that say African Americans are lactose intolerant because of an improper diet and that they should increase their intake of dairy foods. Other articles say African Americans are not lactose intolerant, so it is all a bit confusing. Who is the intended audience for these articles? How many African Americans are aware of these articles or have access to the information?

[Sources: "Lactose Intolerance" in Patient-Centered Clinical Care for African Americans, by G. L. Hall; Michaels, Pamela V. "Lactose intolerance," in FoodIn Context, edited by B. W. Lerner and K. L. Lerner, vol. 2, 2011, pp. 514-516; Byers and Savaiano, "The Myth of increased lactose intolerance in African Americans," Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Dec. 2005 (6th  supplement), pp. 569S-573S; and National Medical Association, "Lactose intolerance and African Americans: implications for the consumption of appropriate intake levels of key nutrients," Journal of the National Medical Association, Oct. 2009, 101 (10th supplement), pp. 5S-23S

"People with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, they have diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products. The condition, which is also called lactose malabsorption, is usually harmless, but its symptoms can be uncomfortable." Source: "Lactose Intolerance," a Mayo Clinic webpage. 

While it is good to know the buying power, food serving sizes, lactose intolerance possibilities, and potential health assessments for African Americans who consume ice cream, none of the publications provide an understanding of African Americans' placement in the history of making, selling, buying, and eating ice cream. The fight for the right to buy ice cream in any establishment didn't just occur in the 1960s. The NAACP was fighting the same type of discrimination cases in 1914 [source: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Fourth Annual Report, January 1914, p. 51]. The sugar plantations, medical journal articles, and early segregated ice cream parlors are all parts and pieces of the whole history.

More information is needed. One way that was accomplished for this entry was time consuming page-by-page searches within sources, necessary because the terms that refer to "African Americans" are scarce in the table of contents and  indices of books dedicated to the history of ice cream. The term "ice cream" is just as scarce in history books dedicated to the African American experience in the United States. The first book committed to the making of ice cream was written by Monsieur Emy and published in Paris, France in 1768: L'art de bien faire les glaces d'office is available in several public and academic libraries in the United States. Two earlier works were written by Chef Francois Massialot in 1698 and translated into a combined English work, The Court and Country Cook. (The individual French works are Le cuisinier roial et bourgeois and Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs, et les fruits.) Both of the authors/chefs understood that making ice cream was expensive and available only to those who could afford the dessert. The books are not about the historic roles of Africans or African Americans in the eating, making, buying, and selling of ice cream, but it is within the understanding of the early history of the ingredients used to make ice cream that the presence of persons from the African diaspora starts to unfold.

The people of Kentucky have never been major producers or consumers of ice cream, though ice cream was not completely unknown to early residents of the Commonwealth. In 1835 Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) was visiting the United States and wrote that she had seen mounds of ice cream served daily in Kentucky, along with lots of ice cream in New Orleans as well as large amounts in Alabama [source: Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: a history of American Ice Cream, by A. C. Funderburg]. It is interesting that Martineau mentioned the states of Kentucky, Louisiana, and Alabama, because today these are three of the states where the least ice cream is consumed in the United States [source: Biggest Ice Cream Consumers by State, July 10, 2018, blog]. Harriet Martineau was a British author, writer, and sociologist. Her words were not a literal statement that mounds of ice cream were served daily in Kentucky. Ice cream was a costly treat that was served when requested in the United States during the 1830s. More than likely, the dish was a special preparation for Harriet Martineau's visit to Kentucky and the south. In the 1830s, businesses such as the Lexington Confectionary and Saloon on North Mill Street in Lexington provided a variety of confections, including ice cream that had to be preordered [source: p. 19 in the Directory of the City of Lexington and County of Fayette for 1838 and '39]. 

A few decades after Harriet Martineau's visit, there was an early ice cream manufacturer in Kentucky. George W. Cuscaden (1854-1924) founded Cuscaden's Ice Cream Works in 1875. He had come to Louisville from Cincinnati. Cuscaden and his mother had owned a confectionary store that produced 5-10 gallons of ice cream daily. As part of his factory, Cuscaden invented a machine that produced four flavors of ice cream bricks, receiving a patent for his invention in 1901. The company had relocated to 619 S. Second Street in Louisville in 1923. The previous building had been destroyed by a tornado in 1890. Cuscaden's Ice Cream Works was the oldest ice cream plant in Kentucky and one of the oldest in the United States. Cuscaden had several ice cream parlors in the downtown area of Louisville, and he also sold ice cream from an ice cream wagon. He was the first to ship ice cream by railroad. In 1931, Cuscaden's company merged with the Furnas Ice Cream Company. Cuscaden's Ice Cream Works was a major contributor in 1922 when the total production of ice cream of all kinds in Kentucky was 1,103,000 gallons, yet a small contribution to the 1922 production of ice cream in the entire United States at 172,954,000 gallons.

[Sources: "Oldest Kentucky Plant," p. 93 in The Ice Cream Review, February 1923; Postcard History Series: Louisville, by J. E. Findling; Louisville Remembered, by G. Falk; Legendary Locals of Louisville, Kentucky, by K. Applegate; and Historical Statistics of the United States, 1789-1945 [incorrect title listed on webpage], June 1947. Chapter E. Agriculture. Series E 152-164, Dairying - Cows Kept for Milk on Farms, Milk Produced and Sold, Manufactured Dairy Products: 1849-1945, pp. 103-104. Online at the U.S. Census Bureau website.]

George W. Cuscaden's move from a confection business to the development of an ice cream factory was a bold step into a new industry in a state not flush with the ingredients necessary for ice cream production. The 1870 U.S. Census lists no sugar makers, refiners, nor ice-cutters in Kentucky and only 32 ice traders and dealers, 104 dairymen and dairywomen, and 315 confectioners [source: 1870 Census: Volume 1. The Statistics of the Population of the United States. Table XXVII (A) and (B) in the United States Engaged in Each Special Occupation and Class of Occupations (by States and Territories). Online at the U.S. Census Bureau website]. Nonetheless, Cuscaden's business succeeded and others followed.

The arrival of ice cream factories in Kentucky meant a supply of ice cream to saloons and parlors. The factories also meant that the few African American owners of ice cream saloons and parlors were joined in the industry by the few African Americans employed at ice cream factories in Kentucky. In 1889, John Snead was an ice cream maker in Louisville [source: p. 919 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1889]. Thomas H. Coleman was employed as an ice cream manufacturer in Louisville in 1895 [source: p. 256 in the 1895 Louisville city directory].

The ice cream industry boom arrived in Kentucky around 1900, and by 1920 there were ice cream companies not only in the larger cities but also in smaller towns. Ice Cream manufacturers in Owensboro in 1903 were Eugene Gasser, J. V. Gasser, G. N. Meeker, Joseph E. Weaver (who was African American), and H. M. Wohlbold [source: p. 244 in Owensboro, Ky., City Directory, 1903-1904]. Eugene Gasser was a baker and confectioner who had had an ice cream and oyster saloon in Owensboro in 1891 [p. 54 in Owensboro Family Directory and Daviess County Gazetteer for 1891-92]. Joseph L. Schatzman was an ice cream manufacturer in Covington in 1904 [source: p. 564 in Williams' Covington and Newport Directory, 1904-1905].

The Lexington Ice Cream Company was incorporated in 1906 [Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal (CS&IT Journal), December 1906, p. 111]. The National Ice Cream Company was located in Louisville and Taylorsville, the Louisville plant in operation since 1906 when its capital stock increased from $60,000 to $250,000 [CS&IT Journal, July 1906, p. 40]. White Elk Ice Cream Works and the Manufactory were located in Hopkinsville in 1910 [source: p. 249 in Caron's Directory of the City of Hopkinsville for 1910-11-12]. Many ice cream companies in Kentucky were family-owned and family-managed businesses. Between 1915 and 1920, there were at least 150 individual ice cream makers in Kentucky, with the majority in Louisville and Covington [source: "ice cream maker" search in Kentucky city directories in].

There were successful businesses, as well as those that failed, along with several ice cream companies that came to Kentucky from Chicago and other northern locations. In 1914, Fox Bros. Co. from Chicago, IL was rebuilding the plant in Hopkinsville, including the ice cream factory. The company had only been operating a few months when it suffered a $40,000 loss due to a fire on July 13. The Peter Fox and Sons Co. also came to Hopkinsville from Chicago in 1912, adding a 500-gallon ice cream factory to their refrigeration plant and a creamery and ice cream factory to their poultry plant. The Elizabethtown Ice and Ice Cream Company was completed in 1914. Wm. Mathis is listed in the 1910 U.S. Census as working in an earlier ice cream factory in Elizabethtown. The Fischer Ice Cream Co. in Louisville failed with $7,796 in liabilities and $7,583 in assets. The Sanitary Ice Cream Company in Georgetown was incorporated in 1914. Klein Ice Cream Co. in Ashland was a new wholesale business. James Smallwood from Terre Haute, IN was building an ice cream plant in Central City. The Culver Ice Cream Co. in Fulton had added new equipment valued at $6,000. The Collins Bros. Ice Cream Co. in Chicago was planning to build an ice cream factory in Lexington using cream from Elmendorf Farms. W. I. Hughes purchased land in Lexington and planned to build an ice cream factory there. The Owensboro Ice Cream and Candy Co. became incorporated. Among the confection and ice cream news in the 1914 October issue of The International Confectioners, p.47, was a side note of supposed humor on the killing of African Americans in Erlanger, KY.

[Sources: The International Confectioners, January-December 1914, vol. XXIII; Butter, Cheese, and Egg Journal, May 6, 1914, p. 28; and  Cold Storage and Ice Trade Journal [CS&IT Journal], March 1912, vol. 43, no. 3, p .84.] 

The ice cream industry in Kentucky continued to grow and change during the years leading up to World War I, then started to drop off in the 1930s. In 1917 the Sanitary Ice Cream Company in Georgetown was failing: a voluntary bankruptcy petition was filed. The Garrison Ice Cream Company in Hopkinsville moved to Greenville, S.C. The Maysville Co-operative Creamery and the Louisville Dainty Co. were both newly incorporated and began manufacturing ice cream. Cuscaden Ice Cream Co. in Louisville increased its capital to $20,000, and the Traxel-Glascock Dairy and Ice Cream Co. in Paducah increased its capital stock to $12,000.

[Source: The Ice Cream Review, vol. 1, no. 1, August 1917.]

In 1930, there were 38 companies in Kentucky that manufactured ice cream as the main part of their businesses. Ten of the companies were in Louisville; four in Lexington; three in Paducah, Bowling Green, and Owensboro; and one each in Glasgow, Hazard, Middlesboro, Ashland, Irvine, Covington, Mt. Sterling, London, Frankfort, Taylorsville, Princeton, Winchester, Livermore, Richmond, Lawrenceburg, and Eminence. By 1948, there were about 26 companies in Kentucky producing ice cream as a major part of their business. The majority (19) were using 94% raw materials that came from Kentucky. There were 226 full-time employees and up to 377 employees during the peak season.

[Sources: Kentucky Classified Directory of Kentucky Industries: supplement to the Kentucky Progress Magazine, 1930, pp. 15-16; and Kentucky Agricultural Statistics, 1948, p. 130.] 

About 185 of the World War II servicemen from Kentucky had worked in the ice cream industry before enlisting in the military [source: U.S. WWII Draft Cards in]. Among the names were a few African Americans: William Adam Jones from Hadenburg [Hardinsburg] and Curtis Mays from McRoberts, both having migrated to Chicago, where they worked at the Hydrix Ice Cream Company; Lewis Talbott Willis from Owensboro  was employed at Owensboro Ice Cream Dairy Products; Burnice Lee Willis from Earlington worked at the Owensboro Ice Cream Company; Oscar E. Burrell from Bourbon County worked at the Velvet Ice Cream Company in Georgetown; James Henry Graham from Hodgenville had migrated to Maywood, IL, where he worked at the Oak Park Ice Cream Shop; Rodger Hodgkin from Winchester had moved to Richmond, IN, where he worked at the Beudi Ice Cream Company; and Sylvester Flowers from Crofton had migrated to Evansville, IN, where he worked at the White Lily Milk and Ice Cream Company.

We don't all scream for ice cream. People in Kentucky consume less ice cream than those in Washington D.C and 43 other U.S. states, according to the GravyAnalytics Blog. More research is needed to know what that says about ice cream consumption among African Americans in Kentucky and consumers health outcomes. The state of Kentucky ranks at #45 for life expectancy at birth in the United States.

[Sources: Biggest Ice Cream Consumers by State, July 10, 2018, blog; and T. Latek, "Study: Life expectancy in Kentucky ranks 45th at 75.8 years," Kentucky Today, 6/11/2019 (online).]

1. Heart disease                                   1. Cancer
2. Cancer                                              2. Heart Disease
3. Chronic lower respiratory disease    3. Cerebrovascular diseases
4. Accidents                                          4. Chronic lower respiratory diseases
5. Stroke                                               5.  Accidents

Kentucky Leading Causes of Death at the Stats of the State of Kentucky webpage, published by the CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; and 2017 Office of Health Equity Kentucky Minority Health Status Report, pp. 18-22, published by the Department for Public Health, Cabinet for Health and Family Services (online). 

  • In 1993, 35% of African Americans surveyed purchased ice cream in ten areas of dominant influence (ADI), surveyed by Market Segment Research. The Past Month Purchase of ice cream from most to least took place in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D. C., Detroit, New York, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and Baltimore. [Source: The 1993 MSR Minority Market Report, published by Market Segment Research, Inc., p. 231]. 
  • [In U.S.] Households with children are the lead consumers of ice cream with 34% of total consumption. Consumer research has shown that children and African-American households eat more types of ice cream products and also consume more servings during a 30-day period [source: S. Barrette, "Ice Cream Parlors: NAICS Code: 722213   SIC Code: 5812," SBDCNet [Small Business Development Center Network], published November 30, 2004].
  • The top five used foods in the household in the last seven days for African American households - 75% fresh meat, 64% packaged meat, 58% ice cream products, 55% cereal, and 55% chips [source: Grocery Shopping Habits section of the CDC's Audience Insights: African Americans. Scarborough USA+ 2013 Release 2, August 2012-September 2013].
  • In 2013, the least amounts of ice cream were consumed in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. [Sources:  "Frozen Dessert Supplies webpage, 2013; and Global Ice-Cream Consumption Per Capita Around the World, 2013," Business Insider, 1/23/2013, (online)].
  • The sale of ice cream is influenced by four factors: weather, the pursuit of health, flavor, and impulse-buying, according to the article "Ice Cream" in the Encyclopedia of Products & Industries - Manufacturing, edited by P. J. Bungert and A. J. Darnay, vol. 1, Gale, 2008, pp. 481-487. See also J. Bentley, "Trends in U.S. Per Capita Consumption of Dairy Products, 1970-2012," 1/02/2014, at the website United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • In 2016, China was the country where most ice cream was consumed, followed by the United States. [Source: C. Spyrou, "America isn't the top country where people eat the most ice cream," Business Insider, 7/13/2017, (online)]. 
  • [In the U.S.] Ice cream is an $11 billion industry that supports 26,000 direct jobs and generates $1.6 billion in direct wages [source: 2017 data from the IDFA International Dairy Foods Association website].
  • About 1.4 billion gallons of ice cream and related frozen desserts were produced in the U.S. in 2017 (most recent data) [source: 2017 data from the IDFA International Dairy Foods Association website].
  • [In the U.S.] Ice cream makers and retailers say the Great Lakes region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin) is the most successful ice cream market. [source: 2017 data from the IDFA International Dairy Foods Association website].
  • For laws and regulations on the production and sale of ice cream in various countries around the world, search the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations website.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Encyclopedia of products & industries--manufacturing
NKAA Source: Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla: a history of American Ice Cream
NKAA Source: L'art de bien faire les glaces d'office; ou, Les vrais principes pour congeler tous les refraichissemens. La maniere de préparer toutes sortes de compositions, la façon de les faire prendre, d'en former des fruits, cannelons, & toutes sortes de fromages. Le tout expliqué avec précision selon l'usage actuel. Avec un traité sur les mousses. Ouvrage très-utile à ceux qui font des glaces ou fromages glacés. Orné de gravures en taille-douce
NKAA Source: The Court and country cook : giving new and plain directions how to order all manner of entertainments ... Together with new instructions for confectioners : ... How to prepare several sorts of liquors ... Faithfully translated out of French into English by J.K.
NKAA Source: La Cuisinier roial et bourgeois, qui aprend a ordonner toute sorte de repas, & la meilleure maniere des ragoûts les plus à la mode & les plus exquis. Ouvrage tres-utile dans les familles, & singulierement necessaire à tous maitres d'hôtel, & ecuïers de cuisine
NKAA Source: Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs, et les fruits : avec la maniere de bien ordonner un dessert, & tout le reste qui est du devoir des maîtres d'hôtels, sommeliers, confiseurs, & autres officiers de bouche : suite du Cuisinier roïal & bourgeois : egalement utile dans les familles, pour sçavoir ce qu'on sert de plus à la mode dans les repas, & en d'autres occasions
NKAA Source: Of sugar and snow : a history of ice cream making
NKAA Source: The Haitian Revolution : a documentary history
NKAA Source: The Atlantic slave trade : effects on economies, societies, and peoples in Africa, the Americas, and Europe
NKAA Source: Atlas of slavery
NKAA Source: Harvest of the cold months: the social history of ice and ices
NKAA Source: Salt: a world history
NKAA Source: The Ice king: Frederic Tudor and his circle
NKAA Source: Slavery in the circuit of sugar : Martinique and the world economy, 1830-1848
NKAA Source: Voices of the enslaved in nineteenth-century Cuba :
a documentary history
NKAA Source: Sugar : the world corrupted : from slavery to obesity
NKAA Source: Frozen desserts : the definitive guide to making ice creams, ices, sorbets, gelati, and other frozen delights
NKAA Source: Ice cream : a global history
NKAA Source: Milwaukee sentinel (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Dundee courier & argus (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Daily Inter Ocean (newspaper)
NKAA Source: A History of African American theatre
NKAA Source: Discovering Black America : from the age of exploration to the twenty-first century
NKAA Source: Encyclopedia of free Blacks and people of color in the Americas
NKAA Source: The Atchison daily globe (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Daily national intelligencer (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Northern star and freeman's advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Weekly Anglo-African (newspaper)
NKAA Source: National anti-slavery standard (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Christian recorder (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Provincial freeman (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Colored citizen (newspaper) (Cincinnati, OH)
NKAA Source: New Orleans tribune (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Loyal Georgian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Colored Tennessean (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Elevator (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Atchison directory. City and county. For 1882-3
NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Louisville (annual)
NKAA Source: Prather's Lexington city directory ... : containing a complete list of residents, and a classified business directory, of the mercantile, manufacturing and professional interests of the city (serial)
NKAA Source: Bennett and Co.'s Owensboro city directory for 1889-90
NKAA Source: Novel dairy processing technologies : techniques, management, and energy conservation
NKAA Source: The International dictionary of food & nutrition
NKAA Source: The Natal witness (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Sierra Leone weekly news (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Beira post = Correio da Beira (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Madagascar times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Rhodesia herald (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Central African times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Different drummers : rhythm and race in the Americas
NKAA Source: Salt : a world history
NKAA Source: Sweetness and power : the place of sugar in modern history
NKAA Source: The Economic history review (serial)
NKAA Source: The Sugar masters : planters and slaves in Louisiana's cane world, 1820-1860
NKAA Source: Coolies and cane : race, labor, and sugar in the age of emancipation
NKAA Source: Trade and empire in the Atlantic, 1400 and 1600
NKAA Source: International historical statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-1988
NKAA Source: Bibliography on ice cream, up to and including the year 1926
NKAA Source: The Journal (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Graham's Town journal (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Gardner's New Orleans directory for ... (annual)
NKAA Source: History of modern soy protein ingredients : isolates, concentrates, and textured soy protein products (1911-2016) : extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebook
NKAA Source: History of soy ice cream and other non-dairy frozen desserts (1899 to 2013) : extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebook
NKAA Source: St. Louis globe-Democrat (newspapers)
NKAA Source: George Washington Carver : a life
NKAA Source: African Americans in Glencoe : the little migration
NKAA Source: African Americans in Sewickley Valley
NKAA Source: African Americans at a segregated malt bar (2-D image)
NKAA Source: Appetite (periodical)
NKAA Source: Eating behaviors (periodical)
NKAA Source: A Provider's handbook on culturally competent care :
African American population
NKAA Source: American journal of epidemiology (periodical)
NKAA Source: Food : in context
NKAA Source: Journal of the American College of Nutrition (periodical)
NKAA Source: Journal of the National Medical Association (periodical)
NKAA Source: Patient-Centered clinical care for African Americans:
a concise, evidence-based guide to important differences and better outcomes
NKAA Source: Directory of the city of Lexington and county of Fayette for 1838 & '39
NKAA Source: Ice cream review (periodical)
NKAA Source: Louisville
NKAA Source: Louisville remembered
NKAA Source: Legendary locals of Louisville, Kentucky
NKAA Source: Historical statistics of the United States, 1789-1945 : supplement to the Statistical Abstract of the United States
NKAA Source: The International confectioner (periodical)
NKAA Source: The Negro in business
NKAA Source: The National Negro business directory
NKAA Source: Owensboro city directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Owensboro family directory and Daviess County gazeteer, for 1891-92
NKAA Source: Williams' Covington and Newport directory. Including Dayton, Bellevue, Fort Thomas, Latonia, Ludlow and Bromley, Kentucky; also a Cincinnati classified business directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Cold storage and ice trade journal (periodical)
NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Hopkinsville for ...
NKAA Source: Butter cheese and egg journal (periodical)
NKAA Source: Classified directory of Kentucky industries [as of October 1, 1930]. Supplement to the Kentucky Progress Magazine.
NKAA Source: Kentucky agricultural statistics
NKAA Source: Kentucky today : magazine for Kentucky Baptists (periodical)
NKAA Source: The 1993 MSR minority market report : a portrait of the new America
NKAA Source: Amsterdam's Sephardic merchants and the Atlantic sugar trade in the seventeenth century
NKAA Source: NAACP annual report (serial)
NKAA Source: Pennsylvania Negro Business Directory, 1910 :
Industrial and material growth of the Negroes of Pennsylvania
NKAA Source: Evidences of progress among colored people
NKAA Source: The bright side of Memphis : a compendium of information concerning the colored people of Memphis, Tennessee, showing their achievements in business, industrial and professional life and including articles of general interest on the race
NKAA Source: Philadelphia inquirer (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Ice Cream, Sugar and Slavery Up to the 1900s,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-03 20:55:57