UNL Black History Month features gospel music

UNL students and faculty dig into the soul food at the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on city campus for the kick off of Black History Month

Story and Photos by Kelly Morris, NewsNetNebraska

The ring of gospel music from the Afrikan People’s Union Gospel Choir echoed through the halls of the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center on Friday Feb. 3 in honor of Black History Month. The choir belted out the lyrics, “sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us. Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,” in front of about 60 people in attendance of “Dream, Believe, Work and Achieve,” a dinner held to celebrate the achievement of black Americans. Click here to listen.

James Meeks, pre-optometry sophomore at UNL said that while he thinks it’s great African American’s are being celebrated this month, he wishes it wasn’t just one month out of the year.“People care more about African American’s this month which really is cool,” Meeks said. “But I believe the achievements made throughout history should be recognized all the time.”

Race still an issue at UNL

Three percent of students at UNL are African American according to CollegeProwler.com. This statistic isn’t easily looked over by UNL sophomore, Jasmine Kitchen. Coming from Central High School in Omaha, Neb., Kitchen was used to a diverse school setting. She cried every day during her first weeks at UNL.“I hated this school at first,” Kitchen said. “But I learned to adjust and realized this is part of the stages of life. We need to expand our comfort zones.”

Kitchen believes learning about different cultures will help bridge the gap between races. She said attending other Black History Month events and asking questions is the first step to learning about the similarities and differences between races.

Gospel music and soul food

Soul food like cornbread, fried chicken, and sweet potatoes were catered into the event.

APU members Johnterry Whitner and Camille Scott, welcomed guests to the event. The gospel choir performed a song and then a prayer was recited. Fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread and macaroni and cheese, known as soul food, followed.

Kitchen described soul food as something for families to bond over. Soul food “isn’t just a meal made by one person,” Kitchen said.

Bianca Harley, a coordinator for the event, said that soul food got this name from the 1960s, when “soul” was being associated with African Americans. “Soul embodies the spirit and essence of culture,” Harley said. “Just like this food does.”

After dinner, Michael Combs, professor of political science, Kwakiutl Dreher, associate professor of English, and John Wesley Marshbanks III, senior architecture major, were all honored for their work done at UNL.

Students dine together and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the Multicultural Center.

Harley ended the dinner with information about upcoming Black History Month celebration events like Chris Rock’s comedic documentary, ‘Good Hair vs. Bad Hair’ which will play in room 212 of the Multicultural Center on Friday Feb. 10.

Click here to see all upcoming events during this month.