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Harlem prepares for annual African American Day Parade

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 9/12/2012, 8:32 p.m.

It looks like sunny skies and warm weather are going to accompany the 43rd annual African American Day Parade this Sunday. Hundreds of thousands of revelers are expected to line Harlem's Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard from 111th Street to 136th Street.

Several organizations from around the city will be at the parade, along with groups from 12 states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dozens of marching bands, drill teams, labor unions and community organizations will walk the parade route as red, black and green flags, along with flags from nations around the world, wave together.

The parade is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. Grand marshals for this year's parade include former Gov. David Paterson, former Mayor David Dinkins, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the New York State Board of Regents Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Rep. Charles Rangel, mayoral candidate William Thompson and Lillian Roberts, executive director of DC37.

"The purpose of the parade is to provide an opportunity for Blacks to join together on a special day to highlight our history and salute African people throughout America and the world for their outstanding achievements," said parade chairman Abe Snyder. "Every single organization that you could name is at this parade, and every year we don't ask for a registration fee."

Meanwhile, several politicians and candidates looking for votes during the upcoming November general elections will be on hand to get votes, and political groups are using the parade to get people to register to vote. Volunteers from the Barack Obama campaign in Harlem announced they will be at the parade registering voters and asking people to help on the campaign.

The African American Day Parade was established in 1968 by 13 residents. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. served as the parade's first grand marshal. Other past grand marshals have included Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Shirley Chisholm and Johnnie Cochran. Close to a million people attend the parade annually.