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.


12/15/2019 11:19 AM


  • Vesna K.
    03/16/2020 10:15


  • Dominick P.
    03/12/2020 19:03

    I love them fried chicken backs

  • Carolyn H.
    03/11/2020 12:22

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

  • Maria P.
    03/11/2020 05:43

    God bless her 😇😇🙏☝☝

  • Janet H.
    03/11/2020 02:56

    Beautiful story! Congratulations! [email protected]

  • Matt K.
    03/10/2020 19:59


  • Shakieta A.
    03/10/2020 13:36

  • Jeanette W.
    03/10/2020 05:08

    Excellent story to share.You will be surprise to know how may people out there in this world feel like a nobody,because of no love and encouragement shown to them.

  • Patricia D.
    03/09/2020 21:26

    God Bless you for what you are doing keep your head up high 🙏🙏prays will keep you at peace thanks for your story ♥️♥️

  • Shaun J.
    03/09/2020 15:20

  • Robyn P.
    03/09/2020 14:42

    @nelle Ros Pee

  • Sandra D.
    03/09/2020 03:38

    Awesome woman

  • Frank M.
    03/09/2020 01:01

    Ya heard what she said about mrJackk.. we have the power to stop things together.. 🧠 💯 💪🏽

  • Deirdre Y.
    03/08/2020 22:53

    God bless you Ma. You are an amazing and inspirational lady. Keep doing what you do best. Love and hugs 🖤

  • Baba Z.
    03/08/2020 17:09

    Enormous story! Georgia Gilmore too!...Would love to connect!!!!

  • Shirley A.
    03/08/2020 11:43

    God bless

  • Thenell P.
    03/08/2020 05:04

    Congratulations Asome Story may you have A long Life to keep making a difference in Somebody's Life, May God Continue to bless you

  • Dee S.
    03/08/2020 04:10

    There goes a story that has touched my heart I'm going to pass this on no greater gift the Gods good news then the one who can share thanks for this post

  • Luke F.
    03/07/2020 15:27

    Just keep going

  • Lilly F.
    03/07/2020 13:20

    I wish we had a Mr Jack's.

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