Famous White House dinner dismissed as just a snack

“In 1931, the popular magazine Collier’s Weekly ran a story titled ‘Dark Discretion,’ which professed to reveal the ‘simple’ truth about that controversial meal [at the White House in 1901]. According to Dr. W. H. Frazier, president of Queens College in [Charlotte] North Carolina, Booker T. himself admitted to eating lunch, not dinner, at the White House. ‘With his plate on his knee, Dr. Washington ate a sandwich and drank a cup of tea while [President Roosevelt] refreshed himself similarly — at his desk. That was all there was to it,’ Collier’s reported.

“One week later, an editor at the Afro-American, a black newspaper in Baltimore, expressed outrage and disbelief and set out to disprove the story….Dr. Frazier admitted that he had never discussed the matter with Dr. Washington and may have read the anecdote in a newspaper several years earlier.”

— From “Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nation” by Deborah Davis (2012)

In 1929, after leaving Queens, Frazier managed to make a more useful contribution to political dialogue: It was under his pastorship that Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church first hosted what would become Charlotte’s signature campaign event: the Mallard Creek Bar-B-Que.