One of the reasons tipping spread in the U.S. was because restaurant owners refused to pay black Americans after the 15th amendment.

‘It’s the Legacy of Slavery’: Here’s the Troubling History Behind Tipping Practices in the U.S.

These days, the expectation at U.S. restaurants that diners will tip their servers is a key part of the culinary economy: tips subsidize a server or bartender’s salary at the vast majority of the nearly 650,000 restaurants in the country.

But tipping wasn’t always part of the U.S. dining landscape — and scholars who have studied its origins point out that its oft-debated role in the modern economy isn’t the only thing potentially troubling about tips.

In the earliest days of the practice, its spread was linked to the racial oppression of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period.

The idea of giving someone money for their work isn’t one that really needs an origin story, but modern American tipping — the practice of the customer …
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