Cheyney McKnight is a living historian and material culture researcher who has focused her studies on the African-American experience in the 18th and 19th centuries, with an emphasis on the daily lives of African-American women. Cheyney was trained by the National Association of Interpretation, and has presented programs and interpreted the lives of African-Americans, both enslaved and free, at more than 50 national historic sites and museums.
Cheyney McKnight | Living Historian and Researcher
She is currently compiling original source material regarding African-American foodways, which has brought her to Historic Richmond Town. She is conducting her immersive studies in the functioning open-hearth kitchen of the historic Guyon-Lake-Tysen farmhouse. There, she will research, plan and create authentic meals using regional ingredients, centuries-old recipes, and early 19th century technologies and techniques. In the Tysen kitchen, she has produced culturally meaningful dishes such as Akara—a black-eyed pea fritter from Nigeria—and jollof rice, a one-pot meal popular throughout the regions of Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Mali.
Cheyney is the owner of Not Your Momma’s History, a company dedicated to increasing representation of Africans at historic sites across America.