Community readies for 12th annual black history parade

The Black Historical Committee will hold its 12th annual Black History Parade next month, and it is one of many ways the Aiken area celebrates Black History Month.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15 and will begin at 2 p.m. The starting point is set for Florence Street across from the American Legion Post No. 212 located at 602 Hampton Ave. From there, participants will march east and end at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center at 400 Kershaw Street – a distance of about one mile.

Committee member Charonica Pope said the Black Historical Committee is comprised of Public Safety officers and other individuals who represent local agencies.

“It's a community effort that brings the community together every year to celebrate Black History Month and will hopefully bring education as well,” Pope said. “We want it to help convey the message that our community does work together to celebrate such an important part of the culture.”

After the parade, patrons will meet at the recreation center to present winning trophies from the parade participants. Finally, there will also be a special recognition for the late Sonny Ford, a former Aiken Public Safety captain.

Pope added that the celebration is for all members of the community, and the biggest focus is to educate the children who look up to leaders of all races.

“We really want our kids to learn about their forefathers because they really don't here much unless their parents talk about it,” she said. “Also, we have people right here in our community that make a difference every day. So it helps them to see that it takes a village to convey the importance of education when it comes to our history.”

The deadline to register to enter into the parade is Feb. 5. Registration forms can be picked up the Smith Hazel Center. For more information, call Charonica Pope after 2 p.m. at 803-641-3888 or Linthia Perry at 803-642-7634.

Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard. He joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @ DerrekAsberry.

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