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“Wherever they went, the Arabs brought with them sugar, the product and the technology of its production,” writes Sidney Mintz in Sweetness and Power.“Sugar, we are told, followed the Koran.” Muslim caliphs made a great show of sugar.

By 600 the art had spread to Persia, where rulers entertained guests with a plethora of sweets.

High rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease: the legacy, some experts say, of sugar, a crop that brought the ancestors of most Clarksdale residents to this hemisphere in chains.

“We knew we had to do something,” Kirkpatrick principal Suz Anne Walton told me.

Perhaps the first Europeans to fall in love with sugar were British and French crusaders who went east to wrest the Holy Land from the infidel.

They came home full of visions and stories and memories of sugar.