When most people hear the word “February,” they think about Valentine’s Day, flowers, and hearts. However, February is also Black History Month, a time for all races to come together to appreciate the history and the future of African-American people.
Each year at USF, the Black Student Union holds a variety of entertaining, educational and culturally enriching events in celebration of Black History Month.
BSU Vice-President of Internal Affairs, Halimah Najieb-Locke said, “Black History Month is a time for all of America, and the world, to reflect on the influence African Americans have had on this country’s development and the key role we play in the direction the world is going. It is also a time to pay our respects as a people to those who have passed who were in the struggle to gain our rights as a people.”
On Feb. 26, BSU held the 2009 Black Cultural Dinner as the final event of the Black History Month celebration. The event was very popular among USF students; members of BSU had to bring in additional tables and chairs during the event because of the large number of attendees.
Politics Professor James Taylor gave an overview of the San Francisco Fillmore District and the rich history of politics, culture, and jazz that thrives in the Fillmore. The dinner was comprised of warm spinach salad, catfish po’boys, buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and USF alumnus Preston Walton’s personal recipe for chicken and andouille gumbo.
After the delicious feast, Managing Partner Monetta White and Executive Chef David Lawrence of the restaurant 1300 Fillmore spoke about their experience doing business in the historic Fillmore neighborhood. They held an open discussion forum describing the current environment of the Fillmore District and the revitalization of the area.
Junior psychology major, Elizabeth Quintero, who attended the Black Cultural Dinner, said, “I have lived in the Bay Area my whole life and always known of the crime in the Fillmore District, but after today I am glad to have been informed of how things are changing and being revitalized in such a historic area.”
White and Lawrence’s restaurant gives back to the community through community service. They use their upscale restaurant to disprove the negative stereotypes of the area and help return the Fillmore to its roots and times of prosperity.
Lawrence describes his cuisine as “soul food made in a French technique.” He treated all members of the audience to a delicious dessert of caramelized apple bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and candied pecans.
Junior Johnny Barajas, who attended the event, said, “The event was put on well and gave a terrific and in-depth overview of Black History Month. I will definitely attend next year.”
After the event concluded, Najieb-Locke said, “I would like to say that Black History Month is not just a time to pay homage to our forefathers, but a time to gain inspiration from their strength and move forward in our futures as powerful men and women who can effectuate important, and irreplaceable change to this world.”