The 49th annual African-American Parade marched through the mecca of Black U.S.A. on Sunday hundreds of participants followed a mile-long route through a key stretch of the historic community of Harlem. Parade dignitaries included former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins, the Big Apple’s first Black mayor, and retired Congressman Charles Rangel — both longtime Harlem residents.
While the parade took place in Manhattan, marchers from across the city came to Harlem to ring in the yearly occasion that celebrates one of the oldest Black communities in the country.
This year’s parade theme was “Culture is Key” and, according to the official website, honored “individuals and organizations that have made key contributions to furthering the dignity, determination and excellence of African American Community & Culture, in the fields of dance, theater, music, movies & Film, television, broadcasting, literature, fashion, technology, sports and more.”
The Clark Atlanta University Mighty Marching Panthers led the parade, the lone HBCU marching band to participate in the parade. Radio personality Tom Joyner and hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh were among the parade’s grand marshals this year, according to the Amsterdam News.
“This is a full-circle moment because it is an honor to be able to represent one of the oldest ethnic groups in the country and, of course, in New York City,” Cheryl Wills, a local TV news anchor and another of the grand marshals, said Sunday.
The parade went north on Adam, Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, also known more familiarly as Seventh Avenue, from 111th street to 136th street.
“The African American Day Parade (AADP) is held every third Sunday in September and it is the most renowned African American parade in the country, with the largest cross-section of participants, including community & political leaders, community-based & religious organizations, civil servants, celebrities, fraternities & sororities, marching bands, dance ensembles and many more, with a viewing of over 900,000 attendees along the parade route,” according to the official description of the parade. “We are considered a National Parade, with more than 200 participating organizations from over 12 states and many countries throughout the diaspora.”
Scroll through the pictures below to see African-American Parade marchers in all of their red, black and green splendor.