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February 11, 2005

Black History Month serves up varied menu

by Samantha Beres

In February, there is an event almost every day to celebrate Black History Month. The celebrations started last week with a reception and vigil, followed a few days later by an NAACP Freedom Fund banquet.

While workshops, lectures and gatherings are on the menu, there also are two free food events worth checking out. The College of Family and Consumer Sciences is sponsoring Soul Food Taste Feb. 17 and co-sponsoring, with the African Student Association, Taste of Africa Feb 24.

Taste of Africa will feature foods, mostly from Kenya and Ghana, prepared by students who belong to the African Student Association.

"I think the type of food that people eat is a great way to express their culture. It's a commonality that people can share," said Ama Atiedu, president of the African Student Association and graduate student in food science and human nutrition.

Coordinator of minority retention programs Yanira Pacheco-Ortiz is organizing Soul Food Taste.

"Every ethnic group has what it calls 'soul food' -- comfort food that brings back memories of family dinners; they remind us of where we grew up, where we come from, and who we are. It's also an opportunity to congregate. And when we share food with each other, we start sharing our stories," she said.

This year the soul food menu includes catfish, black-eyed peas and collard greens (see full menu, below right) and will be prepared by faculty, staff and students.

Pacheco-Ortiz said the events this month are for people in the Ames community, as well as faculty, staff and students.

"There's a huge diversity of events for students and the community," she said. "This is an excellent opportunity for faculty, staff and students to educate and learn."

For example, one of the keynote lecture speakers was Ako Abdul-Samad. Abdul-Samad, founder and CEO of Creative Visions Human Development Center in Des Moines, gave a talk earlier this week with the same title as his book, A Deeper Truth: Revelations of the Soul.

"He is a great example of someone in the community who is a leader and who is making a change," Pacheco-Ortiz said. "We wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for our students to get to know him."

Black History Month

Friday, Feb. 11

  • 8 p.m.-midnight, Multicultural Student Affairs Friday Nights, movie and game night for students of color, Union Drive Community Center, free, 4-6338.

Saturday, Feb. 12

  • 10 a.m.-noon, Breakfast, black faculty, staff and students, Cardinal Room, MU, 4-1239.

Thursday, Feb. 17

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Soul Food Taste, free, LeBaron lounge, 4-5980.

Wednesday, Feb. 23

  • 7 p.m., Black History Bowl, multipurpose room, Union Drive Community Center, 4-4890.

Thursday, Feb. 24

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Taste of Africa, free, LeBaron lounge, 4-9377.
  • 5:30-7 p.m., Town meeting, Community of Color, multipurpose room, Union Drive Community Center, 4-6338.

Friday, Feb. 25

  • 8 p.m.-midnight, Multicultural Student Affairs Friday Nights, see Feb. 11.

Sunday, Feb. 27

Monday, Feb. 28

  • 7 p.m., Lecture, "Race and Justice in America," Alfredo Parrish, Des Moines attorney, Sun Room, MU, 4-9934.
Open house at MSA

Among Black History Month activities this week was an open house at Multicultural Student Affairs in the Student Services Building. Events continue throughout February. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Soul Food Taste

Feb. 17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
LeBaron Hall lounge


  • Fried catfish
  • Black eyed peas
  • Red beans and rice
  • Collard greens
  • Corn bread
  • Mac & cheese
  • Chicken wings
  • Peach cobbler