Organizers are gearing up for the 50th Annual African-American Day Parade set for Sunday, Sept. 15 in Harlem. Before you head to the festivities, here are some things you need to know.
1. This year's parade is a milestone.
This year marks the 50th African American Day Parade. The parade was first held on on Sunday September 21, 1969 and was started by Livingston Wingate and Conrad Peters along with 11 other community organizers. Founding organizers wanted "the community to come together and celebrate Black American heritage, talents and accomplishments, while also honoring our ancestors."
2. Three HBCU marching bands are in this year's parade.
Watch for the Orange Crush Roaring Lion Marching Band of Lincoln University, The Approaching Storm Marching Band of Delaware State University and The Trojan Explosion Marching Band of Virginia State University who will be taking the streets at this year's celebration.
3. The grand marshals are some familiar faces.
Watch out for New York’s first and only African American Mayor David Dinkins, the first person to serve as CEO of the Democratic National Convention twice Leah Daughtry, New York’s longest serving Congressman Charles Rangel and others. In addition, eight leaders will be honored as Marshal including the first sitting Family Court judge to be found “most highly qualified” for the Supreme Court Hon. Machelle Sweeting and NYC Civil Court Judge Hon. William Franc Perry III.
4. Melba Moore will sing the Black National Anthem
Legendary actress and singer Melba Moore is kicking off the parade singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at the 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard reviewing stand at 1p.m. She's also a grand marshal.
5. Be sure to wave to the politicians.
Along with the grand marshals, several other politicians will be at the parade. Expect to see Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and State Attorney General Letitia James.
6. Be sure to get there early.
The parade kicks off at 1pm and starts from 111th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and heads down to 136th Street. It’s best to secure your spot early before the parade starts so you can see.
7. Government takes the spotlight for this year’s theme.
The theme for this year's parade is “Integrity and Transparency = Good Government” honoring individuals and organizations that have made contributions to furthering the excellence of the African American community through politics and government.
8. You’ll see your family, friends and neighbors IN the parade.
Officials say that over 200 organizations from including the National Action Network, NAACP and the Urban League along with churches, labor unions, colleges, sororities and fraternities are participating in the parade. So, if you see someone you know walking the route, give them a shout!
9. The weather is suppose to be nice.
Sunday's forecast is calling for partly sunny skies with a high in the low 80s. Be sure to bring water.
10. Have fun!
The African-American Day Parade is a day where the community can come together for celebration and pride for our culture. Bring your family, see old friends and let’s make this the best parade ever!