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FEEDING THE SOUL

MU Center for African American Students throws Soul Food Feast

The Parthenon

Published: Sunday, February 9, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 22:02

FEEDING THE SOUL

Emily Rice | The Parthenon

Pastor Deonte Jackson of First Baptist Church of Huntington, left and Priscilla Adjei-Baffour, second-year pharmacy student from The Bronx, N.Y. enjoy Sunday dinner during the Center for African American Studies’ Soul Food Fest Sunday in the Memorial Student Center.

Community members and Marshall University students and faculty enjoyed traditional soul food and good times at the annual Center for African American Students Soul Food Feast Sunday in the Memorial Student Center’s John Marshall Dining Room.

RaShad Sanders, a graduate student from Detroit, said he is attending the event for the second time for the great food and the great company.

“I decided to come back for the experience, just the fellowship, to mainly interact with people that I don’t get to see all the time,” Sanders said. “Plus to get some good tasting food, some soul food. It’s good for your soul.”

The Soul Food Feast is one of many events sponsored by the center to celebrate Black History Month.

Maurice Cooley, associate vice president of Intercultural Affairs and the director of the Center for African American Students, said while the CAAS sponsors the event, it really is a university affair and it gives community members, who may not visit campus often, an opportunity to experience the university atmosphere.

“They come once a year to be here on campus with us,” Cooley said.” It is a lovely setting. It’s a snowy day, but everyone feels warm in here.”

Cooley said the feast is consistent with the traditional Sunday afternoon dinners that many African Americans from the Northeast and the South had with their families. The overall experience is why many people, himself included, continue to attend.

“My grandmother would cook these large meals and she would serve all those traditional foods much like we have today,” Cooley said. “It was a time the members of the family could come together and spend time with each other, tell stories, talk, take naps and just chit-chat. But moreover it was one of those consistent experiences that kept the family together.”

Cooley said while the food is a large draw for attendees, many individuals come back each year because of the large role the social element plays in the afternoon.  
Derek L. Robinson, a graduate student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he returned this year for a combination of reasons.

“It’s the great food, the fun times and the good people,” Robinson said. “There is a lot of laughter and food.”

Soul Food Feasts are common throughout the United States during Black History Month. This particular event began more than 20 years ago. On average, 140 people attend.

Frances Lazell can be contacted at lazell2@marshall.edu.

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