Marshall’s Annual Soul Food Feast

Marshall’s annual Soul Food Feast took place Sunday in the John Marshall Dining Room of the Memorial Student Center.

The event was presented by the Center for African American Students Programs and Black United Students Organizations in celebration of Black History month.

Students, faculty and members of the community attended the meal and celebration. Among those were Mayor Steve Williams and Marshall President, Jerry Gilbert.

Associate vice principal of intercultural affairs, Maurice Cooley said he is glad members of the community came to campus and believes these events build fellowship.

Before the meal, Williams honored former Huntington resident and father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson. Cooley said the event will be called the “Carter G. Woodson Annual Feast” from now on.

The feast draws on the tradition of African American families eating together and nurturing each other. Cooley said he believes it is important to continue the tradition with Marshall students.

Cooley said he thinks the event is multi-dimensional. Attendees enjoyed traditional dishes and socialized with the community at the same time.

The meal was made by a combination of food service companies. A chef from Beckley, West Virginia prepared the chitlins and Sodexo provided the rest.

Cooley said the chef has prepared the chitlins for over 10 years and usually makes 250 to 300 pounds.

Gilbert said he was glad to see so many people and that it was a great way to highlight food unique to the African American community.

“All of us know soul food but not many of us know its roots,” Gilbert said.

The annual feast has been going on since at least the 70s. Program assistant, Lisa Allen said she remembers attending the feast when she was a student.

“Back then it was always in the Campus Christian Center,” Allen said.

The “Minority Students” office presented the event in the past and black faculty and community members cooked the food in the Campus Christian Center kitchen.

Cooley said he wanted to make the meal affordable. About 50 percent of the cost came from the center’s budget.

The meal included chitlins, fried chicken, ribs, baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, potato salad, cobbler, beverages and more.

Sage Shavers can be contacted at [email protected]