The bands. The art of step. The pageantry. The history.
Pittsburgh has its share of parades, such as those held on Memorial Day and Labor Day. But the African American Heritage Day parade has its own flavor, one that the others cannot replicate.
“I love being able to bring my kids down to the parade so they can see an African American parade, and see African
American organizations and individuals march and perform,” said Shawn Hicks, director of membership and program development for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania. Hicks is one of the lead volunteers for the parade’s execution and organization, along with volunteers from Gateway Health, Highmark Health, Divine Delectables, the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County Council. The event’s primary sponsor is Highmark Health.
The parade’s 30th edition is scheduled for Aug. 26 at 11 a.m. The parade’s participants will meet in the parking lot at Webster Avenue and Watt Street. The parade will then travel down Watt to Wylie Avenue, turn right onto Wylie and progress to Kirkpatrick Street. The participants will make a left onto Kirkpatrick, and greet the parade attendees along Kirkpatrick until Centre Avenue. The parade turns right onto Centre, down to Grove Street, where the parade will end.
“The parade is important because it shows our African American heritage in Pittsburgh,” Hicks told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview. “I also enjoy the fact that the parade is now in the community instead of Downtown. We hold the parade for two years in a community, then move it to the next community. I like this because it gets the communities more involved, and it helps people that cannot make it to town to see our parade in their community.”
Following the parade, a multitude of activities will occur at the Hill House, including an Old School Street Dance and Youth Dance Battle competition beginning at 1 p.m. The Carnegie Library’s Hill District branch will show the film, “Wylie Avenue Days,” featuring photos from famed New Pittsburgh Courier photographer Teenie Harris.