Rescheduled Black History Parade set for this weekend

Postponed due to showers throughout February, Black History Month, Pasadena’s 35th annual Black History Parade will finally step off Saturday morning.

The local parade, one of the oldest in the country, was originally scheduled for Feb. 18 but called off due to rain. It begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Charles White Park, located at Fair Oaks Avenue and Ventura Street in Altadena, then heads south on Fair Oaks Avenue before ending at 1 p.m. at Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena.

The annual Black History Festival and the city’s annual Juneteenth celebration will be held on June 17 at Robinson Park. The delay for the festival is due to construction work being performed on the park.

Juneteenth commemorates the arrival of Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 — two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became law — with news that the slaves had been freed. Because of its geographical isolation, many Texans did not know the war had ended, according to civilwar.org, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of Civil War battlefields.

“We know the importance and the level of excitement the parade brings to the community, and we are happy to continue this time-honored tradition,” said Jarvis Emerson, supervisor of the Jackie Robinson Community Center.

This year’s Community Grand Marshals are Perry and Melanie Bennett of Perry’s Joint, a popular restaurant in Pasadena. The Community Youth Grand Marshal is Lindsay Cooper. Celebrity Grand Marshal is Linda “Peaches” Tavani of the R&B duo Peaches and Herb. Sheldon Epps, artistic director emeritus for the Pasadena Playhouse, and veteran jazz musician Billy Mitchell will be honored for their service to the community over the years.

“It is good the city rescheduled it,” said Councilman John Kennedy. “It represents a celebration of all that is good in the black community and the achievement in Pasadena and the country as a whole. We never want to lose sight that African Americans were part of the beginning fabric of building the Unites States of America, so it is wise and appropriate for all people of good will to parade and celebrate the achievements of African Americans.”

Several streets will be closed during Saturday’s parade. They are: Hammond Street, between Morton and Fair Oaks avenues; North Fair Oaks Avenue, between Woodbury Road and Mountain Street; Mountain Street, between Raymond and Morton avenue; and Morton Avenue, between Glorieta and Hammond streets.