Food, Food Artisans, ZingLife

African American Dinner a Great Success

This past Wednesday, Zingerman’s Roadhouse was honored to host the 9th Annual African American Dinner. The event was a benefit for the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. The AACHM was established in 1993 to research, collect, preserve and exhibit cultural and historical materials about the life and work of Black Americans in Washtenaw County.

The menu for the dinner was comprised of dishes that are part of the traditional African American food pantheon, and reflect the wide and varied origins of these foods. Ari described the origins of these staples, both from the new world, as well as Africa and Asia. For more about the foods served at the dinner, check out Ari’s description of the menu. 


Next, Ari turned over the mic to Dr. Willis Patterson University of Michigan Professor Emeritus of Voice. Dr Patterson is the founder of the Our Own Thing Chorale an Ann Arbor choral organization that has provided free voice lessons for promising Ann Arbor youth for over 30 years.  Dr. Patterson was also one of the subjects of the AACHM’s Living History Project in conjunction with the Ann Arbor District Library.

Dr. Patterson introduced Kiera Turner, who sung a traditional spiritual titled, “I Talked to God Last Night.” The spiritual, said Dr. Patterson, served as a fitting benediction before the meal.


Kiera Turner

Next, Joyce Hunter and Deborah Meadows, President and Vice-President of the AACHM respectively, talked about the history of the museum, it’s long search for a suitable permanent home, and the museum’s Living History Project and Tours of Underground Railroad sites in Washtenaw County.



After the speakers, dinner was served!


After a sumptuous feast of heart, traditional foods, we were treated to an array of desserts. Interestingly, the historic sweet potato pie recipe called for the filling to made with sliced, rather than mashed, sweet potatoes, in the same manner as an apple pie! We also tasted thick rice pudding, and a wonderful peach cobbler.

sweet potato pie

peach cobbler

Like all good meals, it was a time for greeting old friends and meeting new people.

photo ops

And, of course, for lots of photos to revisit the dinner later on.

taking photos

ari and deborah

Want to help the AACHM reach it’s goals? Every contribution helps!
Here are five ways you can help today!

See you next year for our 10-year anniversary!