Annual Durham parade brings out the best

By Jade McClain
YO:Durham Intern
the Durham VOICE


It may have been a rainy Saturday morning that greeted attendees of the annual black history parade, but it didn’t stop the celebration.

VOICE teen columnist Jade McClain

Marching bands, school and church organizations, dance teams, horses, motorcycles and floats truly made the parade a place to be on that day.

It was enough to keep everyone happy, in spite of the weather, including me.

Starting at noon, the parade began on Fayetteville Street, near W.G. Pearson Elementary and ended near the campus of N.C. Central University.

Among the various groups and organizations in the parade, some that stood out to me were Hillside High School’s band, Lowe’s Grove Middle School Band, and R.N. Harris Elementary students and teachers.

The parade’s theme this year was “I still have a dream,” which was meant to honor the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But this year’s parade wasn’t just about MLK. It was a celebration of community and black history in general.

I wasn’t the only one that was having a great time. Many more mature adults let the child within come out that day. As I looked around I saw a lot of bright faces and big smiles.

Many familiar faces from the community stood out to me from the sidelines. It was almost like a reunion.

I noticed Ms. Bridgers, my pre-calculus student teacher at the City of Medicine Academy, with the StudentU group. StudentU, created in 2005, is a program that provides an academic environment to help students succeed in school and beyond. 


I spotted one of my friends, Destini Garrison, moving to the rhythm of Hillside High School’s Marching Band as she represented her school and community as a flag girl.

Hillside band director, Xavier Cason, watches as the band marches down Fayetteville St. as they performed at the parade. Drum majors and majorettes lead the front followed by the rest of the band. (Staff photo by Jade McClain)

I noticed my old school, R.N. Harris Elementary, was in the parade. I found that interesting since I had never known them to participate in parades.

Personally, I think that this “reunion” was a good chance for the Durham community to cherish the historical moment and to fellowship with each other. It was a good opportunity to see the community’s future, its youth, as they progress.

It’s nice to see local youth come together to participate in a community activity like this annual parade.

Activities that involve being active with Durham’s black community make an impact — especially when there are older adults involved.

These adults set the example for young people by helping them to realize how past events, when many of them were younger, have led to a brighter day.

We’re blessed.

I think it’s important for Durham’s black youth to know history and how critical it is to continue doing great things to bring the community closer.

Youngsters from R.N. Harris Elementary, a magnet school located on Cooper St., show support for the “I Still Have a Dream” parade. ( Staff photo by Jade McClain)

Still I feel more education in black history will go a long way in helping.

I think history is changing and that that is a great thing. Young people, like me, are constantly being introduced to and reminded about heritage, but sometimes I don’t think it is being absorbed.

If information about history could be presented in a more interesting manner, like this parade, instead of just telling history, I think more young people would appreciate it. They might be inspired by the stories of trailblazers and torchbearers before them.

Even though Black History month flew by, it will soon be honored everyday with the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture being built in Washington D.C.

Even though construction won’t be done until well after I graduate from high school, I plan on being one of the first people there.

Hopefully it will help all communities learn more about black heritage – much like the parade.