Eat, Pray, Jam: Culture in Old Rondo

Culture describes the practices, customs, languages, norms, beliefs, foods and many other contributing factors that together form the social fabric of a group of people. Communities are defined in many ways by their culture. Studying culture can reveal how the visible aspects of daily life highlight the values of the community in question. In the Rondo neighborhood, food, music, and spiritual life played a large role in the identity of the residents. The importance of these themes is evident through their ability to bring people together; meals were often communal enterprises, music brought talented individuals and fans into shared circles, and churches functioned as a center for social and religious life.  These cultural gatherings help deepen our understanding of the community.  Broadly speaking they impart the values that formed Old Rondo, but more specifically they help observers situate Rondo as a continuation of its historical and regional roots, and reveal many of the gender roles and dynamics present in the neighborhood.

Food, music, and spiritual life embodied the overall culture in Rondo that is captured in the artifacts. Food was an integral part of family culture as seen in beloved recipes and the cookware that the residents possessed. The presence of music in Rondo was depicted through the jazz collections that community members owned and the performing groups that would play around the neighborhood. The churches had both a large physical and personal presence. In a physical sense, there was never short of churches along the few blocks that composed Rondo. In a personal sense, the churches fostered a sense of community during Sundays and provided spiritual and recreational resources to enrich their members.  Though these three elements do not fully represent all of the cultural influences in Rondo, they sufficiently offer insight into the lives and lifestyles of Rondo residents.