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Local African-American man talks about finding work in the 1950s

Posted at 6:56 PM, Feb 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-28 04:06:40-05

Lori Durante loves hearing her dad's stories from the 1950s and 1960s. 

Her father, Kenneth, said in those days finding a job in North Carolina was hard, until someone said he should be a waiter in Florida. 

He ended up in Delray Beach.

"Back in those days there were two high class restaurants, The Patio Delray and the Bayou in Boca," said Kenneth.

He was among other African American men traveling between states working at higher end restaurants every winter. 

Summers were spent working at resorts in the northeast. 

"You learn about food, you learn about service. You also learn how to eat and you can go out with the President and know how to eat and where the fork goes where the spoon goes," he said.

Because of segregation, many of the workers lived at the La France Hotel in Delray. 

His daughter said, "His experience is so unique. He learned quite a bit about different types of cuisines and there was a camaraderie among the other black waiters and that's a feeling that is hard to recreate."

That experience paid off. 

"So when he was no longer waiting tables, when he opened up his own business, some of the people knew him from when he was working as a waiter and those relationships have just continued."