African-American Pinkster Committee of NY held its Memorial Day “Decoration Day” at Grant’s Tomb in Riverside Park, and celebrated the 150th anniversary of the “colored” troops of New York, who valiantly fought in the Civil War to end slavery from 1861 to 1865. Ludger K. Balan and the 26th U.S. Colored Troops Regiment Historical Interpreters sang songs from the era, such as “John Brown’s Body,” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Rally Around the Flag.”

The guest speakers were Assemblyman Keith Wright, state Sen. Bill Perkins, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and General K.W. Jones (ret.), 369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters).

Dr. John Derek Norvell, president and co-founder of AAPCNY, said, “Our mission of the African American Pinkster Committee of New York Inc. is to reclaim the history and culture of African-Americans through the observance and celebration of the knowledge using festivals, seminars and workshops for the community. We are dedicated to the dissemination of public history as a tool to inform and empower citizens towards social change.

“Our aim is to instill pride and self-confidence in Africans here and in the Diaspora by increasing awareness of our philosophical and cultural connections and the African-American/African contribution to world/American civilization and life. We are historical activists!”