The inaugural “Southern Gospel Brunch: Celebrating African-American Heritage” event is on Saturday (Feb 8) at the Sam Rayburn Student Center on the campus of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership at A&M-Commerce, as well as the university Alumni Center, Sodexo, and the Eta Zeta chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, are organizing the event.

The festivities will include a brunch buffet in the Mane Café featuring creole shrimp and grits, fried chicken and waffles, collard greens, and more.

The event will also feature an African-American inventor’s exhibit on the second floor of the student center, which includes documents, photographs, and hands-on replicas of inventions made by African-American innovators from the 1800s to the 2000s. Featured inventors include Nathan Nearest Green, Madam C.J. Walker, and Dr. Patricia E. Bath.

Following brunch, the winner of the “I Have a Dream” essay contest will read their entry. The competition is a partnership between Sodexo and A.C. Williams Elementary School in Commerce. Hosts are tasking third through fifth graders with writing an essay about their aspirations. The winner and their class are invited to brunch.

The event will conclude with the Gospel Explosion, featuring guest performances by Lady Kirisma Evans of KEM Ministries, Colby Savage with Positive Vibes Only, the Uniquely Blended Praise Dance Ensemble and the Evidence of Grace Gospel Choir.

Several dignitaries will also speak at the event, including Sydnie Long, constituent outreach liaison for Senator Ted Cruz; Robert High, president of the Paris NAACP; Wyman Williams, mayor of Commerce; and Dr. Mark Rudin, president of A&M-Commerce.

Admission is free for A&M-Commerce students, faculty and staff who have an active meal plan at the university, and $9 for all others. The public is encouraged to attend the celebration.

The Southern Gospel Brunch will be held on Feb 8, beginning at 11:00 am.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit