CHICAGO – February 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today celebrated Black History Month and declared “Edna Stewart Day” in honor of the Chicago restaurateur known throughout the state for offering soul food and a second chance for those in need.
“Black History Month gives us a time to reflect upon those who have made significant positive contributions to the African-American community in Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “I want to commend Edna Stewart for her remarkable impact on Illinois, devoting over four decades to serving delicious soul food and second chances on the West Side of Chicago.”
Since 1966, Edna Stewart has been doling out some of the most popular soul food in Illinois at Edna’s Restaurant in Chicago. Stewart is a native Chicagoan who learned to cook from her mother, a Tennessee-born sharecropper. The menu at Edna’s Restaurant reflects her upbringing with simple but hearty soul food.
After more than four decades in business, Edna’s Restaurant has become a Chicago institution and a landmark of the Civil Rights era. Edna’s Restaurant became a haven of food and support to Civil Rights leaders working nearby, serving Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
In addition to baking her famous biscuits, Stewart has also provided job opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals who have had difficulty finding jobs after being released. Over the years she has given a second chance to more than 100 formerly incarcerated individuals.
Last year during Black History Month, Governor Quinn honored Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers. For more than a decade, Richardson has been committed to preserving American history by highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of unsung African-Americans through thousands of taped and archived interviews. The non-profit HistoryMakers demonstrates the important role everyday people played in African-American-led movements and preserves the material for generations to come.
“Edna Stewart Day” Proclamation