Benne is the Bantu word for sesame and it was Black slaves who introduced the cookie to the South Carolina sea islands and low country by 1700. A thriving sesame business (mainly for the seeds’ oil) grew out of those first imports and Charleston claims it is the City Cookie. But someone planted, tended and harvested the sesame pod, and someone invented and baked the wafer recipe. The cookie is solidly in the category of African-American inventions.
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