Authored by Oge Ibida ’21 in “Black Faculty and Imagining Black Studies“
last updated 02.09.2021
This next photograph depicts a celebratory dinner at Kindred taken on April 30, 2019, following the Sankofa Society induction. Dr. Bertholf invited some of his advisees to a meal to continue the celebration of our induction and discuss what it meant to be inducted and further the work of scholars. Ramona, Phoebe, and I were still wearing our kente cloth stoles which identifies us as Africana studies majors. I remember the waitress asking what was the occasion because the stoles gave away that the dinner was more than just a dinner with a professor. When we told the waitress that we were inducted into a society, her face grew curious and her wandering eyes looked as though they did not understand what the stoles signified for us. Again, this is a statement because it has the white people turning heads with curiosity. The stoles give us special access to understanding the significance of our department in which no outsider would be able to understand. Even I remember not wanting to take off the stoles despite us going to dinner because of my absolute pride for Africana.
The location of the restaurant is imperative to uncovering the analysis of the photograph. To start off, the restaurant is called “Kindred” which is a term monopolized by Black Studies to describe community and kinfolk. In what ways does the term Kindred change in connection to the restaurant? What does Kindred mean for Africana? The website describes Kindred as “We are family”. My definition of Kindred would not be the same definition that the restaurant would use. The physical space of Kindred is important because it is known for its classy and upscale taste. The marble table indicates how upscale and expensive the restaurant is. Kindred is known for the spot to go to on Main Street which means our celebratory dinner was worth spending money on. From this photograph, we can better understand meal gathering as an important part of establishing a community for Africana.