One of the lesser-known moments from the Civil Rights movement includes a story about Dreamland Bar-B-Que, which originally opened as Hillside Café in 1958 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Dreamland’s founder, John “Big Daddy” Bishop, was a brick mason who longed for another way to support his family. The story goes that he decided to open either a mortuary or a restaurant, so he prayed for guidance, and God told him in a dream to build a café on the land next to his home.

In the beginning, Big Daddy and his wife, Miss Lilly, served everything from sandwiches Sign for Dreamland BBQto postage stamps.

Customers kept coming back for more. Today, Dreamland’s locations now include Georgia and Florida, in addition to Alabama, which all serve up pulled pork, bar-b-que chicken, hickory smoked sausage, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, house salads and banana pudding.

Dreamland’s famous ribs have been cooked the same way for more than 50 years, with a bar-b-que sauce recipe that put Dreamland on the map.

Sharing Love through Food

In 2014, USA Today proclaimed Dreamland "the most famous rib joint in the east.” In 2019, Dreamland Bar-B-Que founder John Bishop was posthumously selected to join the Barbecue Hall of Fame.

As Dreamland’s website notes, “John Bishop didn’t just open a café - he made a place that was home to his children and his family and extended that feeling of love to everyone that came by…No matter why you are in Dreamland, you will be treated as kin.”

Over the weeks of Black History Month, WCIA/WCIX (a CBS affiliate based out of Champaign) will show three, 30-minute programs dedicated to inspiring stories like Dreamland Bar-B-Que and John Bishop.

INB is partnering with WCIA for its Caring Companies program to help promote celebrations and community events like Black History Month. As part of its programming, WCIA is sharing vignettes highlighting “Hidden History”: lesser-known moments or stories from the Civil Rights movement. Highlights later this year will focus on stories honoring women and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Black History Month programs are schedule to air:


Wed. 2/19/20 at 6:30pm

Wed. 2/26/20 at 6:30pm


Sat. 2/29/20 at 9:30pm