In 1969, the first African America Day Parade was held in Harlem in a bid to provide African Americans the opportunity to join together and honor their people on one special day. The parade begins in Harlem – considered the capital of Black America – and winds its way from 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Street, up until 142nd Street. Although the parade takes place in New York, it is still considered an event on a national scale and it represents organizations from twelve states that come together to showcase the accomplishments of African Americans.
The 38th annual African American Day parade will take place this year on Sunday September 16th. This year’s parade will focus on a number of important issues close to the heart of African Americans, including a salute to colleges as well as a greater awareness of the problems of racial profiling and racism in general. In addition, the parade will highlight positive African-American achievements and incorporate a number of celebrities and dignitaries in the parade. A huge turnout is expected at this parade, which saw over 900,000 people attend in 2005. The event traditionally draws many musicians and bands that bring the spirit of music and showcases African American success stories in the industry.
Over the years, several important people have acted as Grand Marshals of the African American Day parade. These include Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jnr, Denzel Washington, Melba Moore and Paul Winfield. This year’s parade will have as Grand Marshals Mayor Ernest Davis, the Reverend Al Sharpton, David Dinkins, Lillian Roberts, Charles Rangel (congressman) and Comptroller William Thompson.
Click for more information on the various NYC neighborhoods at NewYorkJourney.com.