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Soul Food Dinners

Soul Food is an ethnic cuisine which is traditionally prepared and eaten by African Americans, originating in the Southern United States. Soul Food Dinners are something that gained popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s. It gained popularity due to a rise in African-American Pride. It has continued to flourish still today. However, it did not gain popularity on University of Northern Iowa’s campus until the late 1970s. Specifically around the end of February during Black History Month When Soul Food Dinners started it was originally put on by the Ethnic Minority Student Association (EMSA). It gained momentum throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Even though many of the events were prevalent in the 1980s/1990s, they are still happening today. The most recent event was Sunday, February 13th, 2022 at Gift of Life in Waterloo, IA. It has continued to flourish even today due to individuals feeling a sense of pride and connection to their heritage. These individuals align themselves with what’s called the Black Student Union (BSU). Many times these dinners/buffets that were held indoors would feature Soul Foods like fried chicken, ribs, collard greens, sweet potatoes, cornbread, and black-eyed peas. Other times (when the weather was nice), the events would be held outdoors and served more “picnic” foods like hot dogs and chips.