The Incredible Parade That Celebrated Black Power And Joy

African American Day Parade in Harlem
Briona Lamback
November 1, 2021

In the wake of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was FINALLY passed – and Black America, after a week of grief-stricken riots, had reason to celebrate. But how? 

Two organizations would meet to figure this out in the Black mecca of the United States: Harlem.

In that meeting, the Afro-American Day and United Federation of Black Community Organizations joined forces to establish a grand event that honored our ancestors, contributions, and achievements. Thus, the African-American Day Parade (AADP) was born.

 For a year, 13 community leaders meticulously organized the celebration. And on Sunday, September 21, 1969, our people showed up and showed out at the first annual African-American Day Parade! 

Black joy was in the air, families cheered in gratitude, and on the streets they once marched in protest, our people now marched in open celebration of Black community, heritage, and power.

Under that year’s theme, “Africa’s Gift to America,” the Grambling State University Marching Band opened the event while Shirley Chisholm and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., served as Grand Marshals.

For over 50 years, the parade has persisted on every third Sunday in September. Hundreds of thousands of Black people gather to uplift the beauty and dignity of our people. Because even in the abyss of oppression, we must always celebrate who we are – and we are amazing!

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: