Hinsdale Central offers history of the soul
Judges Toni Adeyemi (from left) Nathalie Phillips and Amy Duggan with faculty adviser Annette de Angelis, take pictures and notes on a decorated door. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:23AM
HINSDALE — Hinsdale Central High School celebrated Black History Month with everything from catfish to poetry.
On different days, students read aloud the works of acclaimed African-American poets, enjoyed the music of former Hinsdale Central teacher Chris Greene’s quartet and tried soul food, such as catfish, macaroni and cheese and okra greens, in the cafeteria.
“I had to define soul food,” said Deborah Wright-Powell, a special education teacher and chairman of the black history committee.
On plantations, the slaves who worked in the house and those who worked in the fields ate different quality foods.
“That’s how chitlins came about. They’re pig intestines,” Wright-Powell said. “The people in the main house ate the pig.”
On Friday, classes were encouraged to compete in decorating their classroom doors to illustrate some part of black history.
One door was covered with quotes, such as “I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me,” by poet Langston Hughes. Others quotes were unattributed, such as “You still don’t own a black-and-white TV, so why is the world seen like that?”
Senior Amy Duggan, and sophomores Toni Adeyemi and Nathalie Phillips, judged the 15 entries, appreciating the ones that showed a lot of effort.
“We have a dream,” was a favorite of Duggan’s because the students took pictures of themselves, cut the figures out and pasted them holding balloons, on a blue sky background. Their dreams, including peace, musical notes, and “to grow taller,” were written on the balloons.
The judges liked the way a U.S. history class illustrated the “great migration” of blacks from the rural South to cities in the North. Drawings or symbols of rural farmers, churches, the right to vote, Negro baseball, jazz and the opportunity to earn more money led up to an urban skyline.
“Here in Hinsdale, the population is maybe 1.5 or 2 percent black,” Wright-Powell said. “But what will we see when we go out in the world? A very diverse population.”