By Sidhartha Wakade
The Morgan County branch of the NAACP held the annual Black History Parade and Festival in Town Park last Saturday, June 1. The parade. marching every year since the 1980’s, is as a way to celebrate black history, according to Sheila Tolbert, the secretary of Morgan County NAACP and the event coordinator.
“We try to bring awareness to regarding black history, whether locally or nationally as well,” Tolbert said.
The event began at the Aquatic Center and included bands, floats, and a march through downtown Madison. The party continued in Town Park with a festival for the rest of the afternoon that featured speakers, music, and food.
Each year, the parade typically draw around 100-200 people, according to Lonnie Brown, the vice president of the Morgan County NAACP. Brown hopes that surrounding counties will get involved in the event going forward in order to expand it.
“We would like to develop some type of partnership so we can start doing something with each other and supporting their county activities as well,” he said.
Aside from just festivities, the parade also serves to educate the youth about black history, according to Talbert.
“It’s also to make the community aware as well,” she said. “Especially our younger generation in regards to the rich black history that is here locally and nationally as well that you might not otherwise hear about.
It is not just about black history, either. The goal for the parade is also to let other groups know about the NAACP and how the organization can be of help to them, explained Brown.
“We do want to make sure that we let our immediate citizens know that there is an avenue for support in our environment,” he said. “Whether it be black, or white, or Asian… we are trying to reach anybody that is in need of support.”