You might hear about the nightclubs run by black soldiers who’d deserted the conflict. Or that tailor shop that sold the same sharp suits you’d find in Superfly-era Harlem.

And then there was the food.

“There was a soul food kitchen … with collard greens and black-eyed peas and hog maws and chitlins,” says Robert Rice, a veteran of the US-Vietnam War now living in Tennessee. “And fried chicken and red beans and rice. In Vietnam!”

These recollections were shared with a Houston filmmaker named Ted Irving. His documentary “Soul Alley: Children of the Dust, Streets of Ebony,” captures an oral history of this forgotten oasis for African American GIs.


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.