There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month locally, from lectures to special guided tours, but by far the one event that is at the top of everyone’s list who seeks to honor African American history and culture is the Grand Rapids Public Library’s annual Taste of Soul Sunday
This event often attracts a lot of folks who want to sample any one of the many culinary treats being served at the event, but it is so much more than that.
Attendees at this free event will have a chance to listen to great music, learn more of Black history via storytellers and poets, and create something inspired by an African American potter.
And lest you think the GRPL is resting on their laurels after all these years, then we are happy to report that they are doing things a little differently as they double down by adding even more activities for families.
In the past, Taste of Soul Sunday only had one or two offerings geared towards children, but this year they have three more in addition to their traditional craft activity.
This year they present Let's Move Dance Party — a movement-based activity rooted in Michelle Obama's initiative to get kids moving and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Secondly, they have added an African American Pottery Workshop, where kids can learn about potter David Drake and make their own pottery.
And finally, kids can learn about Sankofa: Black History through Storytelling. This is a workshop with Shano and Jamari Womack, who will inspire families to discover ways to share their own stories. Families are encouraged to bring a meaningful item with them.
And while this event is brought to us through grants from areas organizations and foundations, this year’s Taste of Soul Sunday will also partner with New Hope Baptist Church. In the past, Grand Rapidians may recall that this church group presents their annual living museum at Woodland Mall where significant people from African American history come to life and share their stories. This year, New Hope Baptist Church brings its enthralling program to the 2019 Taste of Soul.
In addition to all the activities and food, there is an exhibit called “Postmarked,” brought to us from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
. This is the first traveling exhibit from the Detroit-based museum and features notable African Americans who have appeared on postage stamps.
So while you have a lot of choices as to how you will celebrate Black History Month locally, to miss this year’s Taste of Soul Sunday would be a real missed opportunity to experience so much in one stop.