Soul food, discussion planned to celebrate Black History Month

By Alyssa Maxwell

In celebration of Black History Month, Food for the Soul — a free soul food meal and discussion about the traditions of African-Americans — will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Bobo Spiritual Life Center.

The department of multicultural affairs teamed up with the department of spiritual life to create the event, which will include a panel focusing on the traditions of the African-American church in addition to providing a traditional meal.

Dr. Burt Burleson, the university chaplain, will moderate the panel discussion.

The panelists will include Pastor Ron English from Greater Bosqueville Baptist Church, Dr. Gaylon Foreman from Carver Park Baptist Church, the Rev. Delvin Atchison from Antioch Community Church and the Rev. Valda Jean Combs from Wesley United Methodist Church.

Panelists will weigh in on a series of 10 questions involving the traditions of the African-American church. In addition, the panelists will also discuss how technology, popular culture and trends have an effect on both African-American history and their own individual churches.

Students will also have the opportunity to learn how each church serves and is active in their community, said Paige Jackson, graduate apprentice for multicultural affairs.

Each pastor comes from a different background and will provide his or her own personal narrative on how they view history.

This wide range of experiences will help illuminate the traditions of the African-American church, said Amanda Horton, assistant to the university chaplain.

“Our hope is to get them to share their history and experience,” Horton said.

The food will be catered by George’s Restaurant and is free to all who attend. Soul food refers to home-cooked meals with Southern roots that stretch to the early days of slavery.

“[Soul food] generally reminds some people of home and comfort,” Jackson said.

Soul food usually includes dishes like beans, collard greens, cornbread, pigs’ feet, fried chicken and chitterlings, which are made from pigs’ intestines, among others.

“I think soul food in some ways is comfort food that gives us a feeling and somehow connects with [the] inner being,” Horton said.

Fellowship will be incorporated through the “community around the table” experience, Horton said, in which representatives from both multicultural and spiritual life will interact with students, faculty and the pastors who are part of the panel discussion.

The department of multicultural affairs and the department of spiritual life intend the event to be a unifying experience for everyone who attends.

The event is free for all students, faculty and staff, though seats are limited. Those interested can RSVP by contacting