Celebrating Black History Month: Dori Sanders
Dori Sanders, born June 8, 1934, is a farmer, cookbook author, novelist, and founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance from Filbert, York County, S.C.
Raised on her family’s 200 acre farm, today it is considered one of the oldest African American-owned farms in York County. Her father, a former sharecropper, bought the land around 1915.
Sanders has written books about life in South Carolina that reflect her African American roots. Her first novel, Clover, was published in 1990. The novel gave a child’s-eye view of racial differences in a fictional South Carolina town in the 1980s. A movie version of Clover was aired by USA Pictures TV.
In 2006, she came out with her second novel, Her Own Place. The body of work is described as “a woman’s story” that is about struggle. She based the book on her recollections of what the lives of African-American women were like during World War II.
In a 2004 interview, Sanders said of her African-American heritage, “My father told us that the land once enslaved my people. He told us that it was important to gain ownership of that same land. ‘Land is forever,’ he said, ‘they’re not making more.’”
On September 10, 1997, Sanders was awarded the Order of the Palmetto for her creative writing by Governor David Beasley.
An accomplished cook, Sanders is the 2011 recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award.
Her cookbook, Dori Sanders’ Country Cooking: Recipes and Stories from the Family Farm Stand, was published in 1995.
Sanders has lectured on food at the annual series presented by Historic Columbia as well as at numerous other events around the state. She has made television appearances on the Food Network, discussing her recipes and answering questions from callers.
The South Carolina Academy of Authors recognized Sanders for her contributions to the field of literature, inducting her in 2000. This is considered the highest honor for an author in the state.
Although she currently resides in Charlotte, NC, Sanders still works on the family farms and frequents the family peach stand in Filbert on highway 321 during the summer.