Soul Food Dinner: A Look Back

BY LEXI RODENCAL

On the evening of Sat., Feb. 21, St. Norbert College hosted its annual Soul Food Dinner in the Michels Commons ballroom. The dinner is held to conclude the celebrations of Black History Month at SNC and honors African-African accomplishments in academia, music and food. The event featured a buffet-style dinner consisting of traditional African-American food, a keynote address and several speakers and performers. Along with the keynote speaker, St. Norbert College was also given the chance to honor Charles “Chuck” Holton ’ 52, the first African-American to graduate from St. Norbert College the man after whom our Multicultural Center is named.

The night began with an introduction to Soul Food Dinner and several different speakers, including President Kunkel and Father Jay Fostner, who gave a blessing before dinner was served. The buffet-style meal included fried chicken, red rice, southern-style mac and cheese, collard greens, corn bread, sweet potato pie and peach cobbler served with whipped cream. All the food was delicious: the mac and cheese was especially good and there is no doubt in my mind that the SNC catering services truly outdid themselves on the meal.

The keynote address was given by Dr. Charles Taylor, a professor at Edgewood College. Along with being a professor in the School of Education at Edgewood, Dr. Taylor has also written over a dozen books and helped shape the Madison, Wis. Urban League’s multi-million dollar building and the Center for Economic Development. At the event, Taylor’s speech included this particularly eye-opening phrase: “All of us are needed to push the pendulum of progress forward.” Taylor added that if we raise our voices to the injustices of the world, we can put a stop to them.

The most heartwarming moment of the night was when Chuck Holton, class of 1952, was honored in front of all the Soul Food Dinner attendees, including President Kunkel and the directors of the multicultural office. After graduating from St. Norbert College, Mr. Holton went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters and later did vast amounts of social work in Milwaukee. Holton even wrote for the SNC Times during his time as a student; he was named sports editor as a junior and editor-in-chief as a senior. Furthermore, our Multicultural Center on campus is named in his honor and Holton was finally able to see it during his visit.

At only $12 a ticket, the Soul Food Dinner of 2015 was very affordable (you could even use Custom Cash or Meal Dollars to pay) and I strongly encourage every SNC student to consider attending next years’ dinner, which will again be held in mid-to-late February.

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