Southern chef is promoting mental health

She was raped, married at 16, and dealing with depression and racism. Then this chef discovered cooking as a means to help herself and others.

Her lifelong dreams have become a delicious reality

This woman cooked her way through the Civil Rights movement, child marriage and depression. Decades before opening Martha’s Place in Montgomery, Alabama, Hawkins was married on her 16th birthday. Hawkins is candid about her bouts with depression and thoughts of suicide to encourage others with these experiences to seek help. Hawkins volunteered to help pack lunches for the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965. After she tried to commit suicide when she was in her 20s, she got a second chance at life.

Family and Food

“It’s something we could eat every day. You haven’t had anything unless you’ve eaten fried chicken. My passion is helping people, giving people a second chance because I got one, you know, and I think everybody needs a second chance to be able to discover who they are. At that particular time, it was a custom if you get pregnant and the guy wanted to marry you, you got married, you know. Not because it was love, or this, or that. But you know it happened. Here I was being a parent. Here I was being a wife. What did I know about either one of them? Nothing. I dropped out of school when I was in 10th grade. So, hey, that's played a part on me mentally because I've never felt good about me because I felt like I lost so many opportunities and so many chances,” Martha Hawkins, Restaurant owner tells Brut.

Martha’s biography

With some of her popular recipes having been released and soon she will be releasing more cookbooks. A frozen food line is also in play. Martha also often hires those no one else will hire because she believes in second chances. Over 30 years since opening her restaurant, Hawkins now has 35 employees.


15/12/2019 11:19 AM


  • Roy B.
    05/09/2021 09:35

    What a wonderful lady ❤ I suffered depression all my life because of horrific child abuse , I wish I could get out of it 😢 it's like a continuous nightmare but day and night to the point I just want my life to end.

  • Ann C.
    28/01/2021 17:06

    That's a beautiful story ,you go girl 👏

  • Greta M.
    06/01/2021 03:35

    Where is she now?? 🥰🙏🏾❤️

  • Ila M.
    06/01/2021 01:37

    She is amazing and so inspiring. Congratulations and best wishes to her.

  • Mark K.
    05/01/2021 18:49


  • Roshan J.
    03/01/2021 14:38

    Proud of her ❤️

  • Adam K.
    03/01/2021 11:52

    ‘ God bless her

  • Venkataraman S.
    03/01/2021 09:45

    Wow great without European world is heaven

  • Balu G.
    03/01/2021 09:32

    Nice message

  • Dinesh S.
    03/01/2021 09:17

    Hi hai

  • Faghir B.
    03/01/2021 09:12

    What a inspiring and incredible woman she is. She is absolutely rigth, sometimes our mind is the worst place we can be at. Nobody should have to struggle in silence. Everyones mental health matters and should be a priority, no one should ever feel alone. And yes everybody deserves a second chance. My deepest RESPECT and MORE power to you lady, stay blessed and stay strong ❤🙌

  • Mubashir K.
    03/01/2021 08:31

    I m first one

  • Beverley R.
    28/12/2020 17:01

    So so true excellent work you're doing

  • Vesna K.
    16/03/2020 10:15


  • Dominick P.
    12/03/2020 19:03

    I love them fried chicken backs

  • Carolyn H.
    11/03/2020 12:22

    Thank you for the miracle to help others! Praise God for you!

  • Maria P.
    11/03/2020 05:43

    God bless her 😇😇🙏☝☝

  • Janet H.
    11/03/2020 02:56

    Beautiful story! Congratulations! [email protected]

  • Matt K.
    10/03/2020 19:59


  • Shakieta A.
    10/03/2020 13:36

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