Black History Month Luncheon celebrates culture

J’Mari HughesReporter

Foods from cornbread and fried plantains to buttermilk biscuits and Jamaican beef patties replaced the everyday pizza and sandwiches while students were able to listen to a live band, Caribbean Vibe, playing songs from cultural icons such as Bob Marley.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, Southern held its yearly Black History Month luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It takes you back into history,” said Diane Brown-Albert, coordinator of Southern’s Multicultural Center. “You get to hear some of the liberal, spiritual songs from back in the day.”

Saschin Choy, as well as freshman and social work major Arabelle Ebnoti said the music gave off a positive vibe. Vartaysha Reed said she loves African music, and the band, which featured steel drums, was her favorite part of it all.

Choy, a freshman, said she felt like she was back home as she danced around Conn Hall to the Afro-Caribbean sounding from the dining room down to the main entrance.

“We’re teaching you a little about history through music,” Brown-Albert said. “It brings a community spirit to the dining hall.”

Black History Month pamphlets served as table centerpieces and featured names and occupations of those like Martin Luther King Jr. and Maya Angelou, as well as trivia on Shirley Chisholm, Jack Johnson, as well as other African-American influences.

“It shows acknowledgement for our culture and our history,” Ebnoti said. “You see that they have certain things for other cultures and I was hoping for our month, they’d do something.”

According to Ebnoti and Rayah Peterson, Black History Month symbolizes freedom.

“It’s our month,” said Peterson, a freshman, majoring in communication disorders. “We overcame a lot and we still are overcoming a lot. We’re still being the first of many so this month you really get to acknowledge all the people who paved paths for those like us.”

Reed, who said she made sure to make time for the event, said she believes Southern is supportive of the African American community and loves to show diversity.

When Peterson learned of the wide variety of foods available including banana pudding, curry goat and catfish, she said she realized the food was all part of her culture. Choy said of the soul food, Caribbean and more she could not even pick a favorite.

“It’s a diverse menu so it gives people the chance to experience different things,” Albert-Brown said. “That curry goat—it has a kick to it. It is awesome.”

To her, she said, Black History Month lasts all year. However in Feb., people can take the time to appreciate those who came before them.

“It’s an opportunity to honor our ancestors and the people who are currently living that sacrificed for me to be here today,” she said. “I really feel extremely proud to be a person of color.”

Albert-Brown, who started the event about five years ago, said the music and food were nicely put together.

“It’s a nice atmosphere, she said. “People come together to enjoy this time.”

Photo Credit: William Aliou

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