Free soul food and gospel choirs featured Saturday in Columbia at Harriet Tubman Cultural Center

The Harriet Tubman Cultural Center in Columbia will host “A Taste of Soul,” a celebration of the recently concluded Black History Month and Women’s History Month, which is March.


Festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and feature 10 local gospel choirs, a talk by a Harriet Tubman re-enactor, as well as soul food and vendors selling books and dolls. Admission and food are free.

“This is our way of giving back,” said Bessie Bordenave, president of the Harriet Tubman Foundation of Howard County, which organized the event.

Harriet Tubman Foundation President Bessie Bordenave, a 1962 graduate of the Harriet Tubman School, speaks at Saturday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. The building opened in 1949 as Howard County's only all-Black high school until it was closed through desegregation in 1965 and subsequently used for more than 50 years by the Howard County Public School System.  On Sept. 17, the facility reopened as an educational and cultural site dedicated to highlighting historic contributions of Black Howard County residents. Photo courtesy of Howard County Government.

Bordenave, 79, a Guilford native, is a 1962 graduate of the Harriet Tubman School, Howard County’s last all-Black public high school, which operated from 1949 to 1965. In September, the building reopened as a cultural and education center that hosts a range of activities, including art and dance classes and special events.

Howard County Times: Top stories


Daily highlights from Howard County's number one source for local news.

Along with listening to gospel music and speakers, attendees can enjoy chicken, fish, collard greens and mac and cheese, catered by Dennis Rhinehart, a member of the First Baptist Church of Guilford.

“Dennis is my go-to man for every single event that I have,” Bordenave said. “He is wonderful.”

Bordenave said she hopes that in addition to participating in festivities, attendees have time to explore the building, which includes a recreated classroom and exhibits on Black history in the county.

“This is really a beautiful, beautiful building,” Bordenave said. “It has come into something that I really didn’t even envision it was going to be. I had no idea that it would be like it is – just wonderful.”

The Harriet Tubman Cultural Center is located at 8045 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia.

For more information about “A Taste of Soul,” email