Local leaders talk politics, black history at Youngstown salad feast

East Side Crime Watch put on a Feast of Salads at Wick Park; Clarence Boles was the guest speaker

The East Side Crime Watch put on a Feast of Salads in the Wick Park Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – East Side Crime Watch put on a Feast of Salads in the Wick Park Pavilion Saturday afternoon.

In addition to pasta salad, bean salad and tuna salad, the event featured several speakers who emphasized the importance of black history.

Annie Hall, from South Carolina, is a member of the East Side Crime Watch and has organized the feast for the past 10 years.

She said it’s a southern tradition she grew up celebrating and it’s one way to pay tribute to Black History Month.

“We didn’t have money to buy meats,” Hall said. “So we had salads. My dad planted all the vegetables in the garden so that we could have it.”

Clarence Boles, managing editor at the Buckeye Review, was the guest speaker at the feast.

Clarence Boles
Clarence Boles

He spoke about civil rights activist Fredrick Douglass and his legacy.

Boles said he was inspired to do so after President Donald Trump’s lackluster comments about Douglass earlier this year.

“Those of us in the black community who know anything about black history, we know that Fredrick Douglass was an outstanding, iconic individual in the history of this nation,” Boles said.

Boles challenged notions of race and politics in Youngstown in his speech — at times, speaking directly to many of the politicians sitting in front of him.

He said it’s important for the politicians in the crowd to hear the concerns of the black community.

“They bring their people with them so that you have a plethora of voices taking whatever they heard here back out in the community with their candidate,” Boles said.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally agreed with Boles’ message.

He said it’s important — especially for communities of color– to have a stake in the political process.

“That’s what citizen participation is all about,” McNally said. “Making us feel uncomfortable and challenge at how our job’s done.”

Hall said she loves how the Feast of Salads has become an outlet for black political expression and empowerment.

She said she hopes to keep it going for years to come.

For all stories in honor of Black History Month, check out our special section on WKBN.com.

Also, join Mandy Noell and Cameron O’Brien for a WKBN 27 First News special presentation — The Valley’s Hidden History. The 30-minute show will air tonight at 10:30 p.m. on FOX Youngstown.

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