Too much segregation in Aiken

It was an honor and privilege to participate in the Black History Parade of Feb. 17. The chilly day was warmed by the family atmosphere and festive mood.

There were, however, several ironies that bring me pause of discomfort. I have attended numerous parades in Aiken, all of which have encompassed a community route of Park Avenue to downtown Laurens Street – except for the Black History Parade given the more isolated route of Hampton Avenue.

This choice coupled with the Aiken Standard’s choice of parade day headline “Cotton is king” next to the smaller headline “Black History Parade moved to today” is an unfortunate message to our community – a message perhaps only trumped with the Black History Museum on York Street sitting empty and unfunded for many years while other community buildings continue to be funded.

Segregation, in a word is not the enemy, it is we who are upholding it.

Siva Aiken


Editor’s note: According to Sgt. Jake Mahoney of the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the Black History Parade organizers requested the Hampton Avenue route rather than using the traditional downtown parade route.