According to the latest research Black Americans are more likely to become vegan or vegetarian than their white counterparts. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 8% of African Americans identify as vegan or vegetarian compared to just 3% of the general population.
Many people of color say they have switched to a plant-based diet for the environment, for animal rights and for their health. Increasingly, they realize that what they eat is important, and that they can do a lot to help avoid hospitals and keep themselves healthy by changing their diet.
Black cardiologist Kim Williams says, “I recommend a plant-based diet because I know…that plant-based diets are associated with lower rates of obesity and diabetes, high quality of life and longer life-expectancy, as well as less hypertension, dyslipidemia, peripheral artery disease, coronary disease, myocardial infarction, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, stroke and death.”
Of course there have been Black vegetarians for generations. While Rev. Martin Luther King was not a vegetarian himself, he showed a growing concern with the plight of animals, as well as people, when he said “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.” That concern blossomed into the vegan way with his wife Coretta Scott King, and also his son Dexter Scott King who said “Veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality”
Civil rights activist Rosa Parks maintained a vegetarian lifestyle until she passed away in 2005. “I have been a vegetarian for a few years. It was not hard at all to not eat meat. [Becoming a vegetarian] was something I wanted to do,” she said. Among her favorite vegetables were broccoli, greens, sweet potatoes and string beans.
Today, many famous Black Americans are good role models as vegetarians, including tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, footballer David Carter, music promoter Russell Simmons, musicians Erykah Badu and Stevie Wonder, actress Kimberly Elise, and many more.