The 156th Annual Emancipation Proclamation Parade will take place on Saturday, January 1, 2022 and feature Olympic Silver Medalist Raven Saunders as Parade Grand Marshal. The Charleston celebration has been held on New Year’s Day since 1866 and is considered the nation’s oldest parade commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation.
Saunders, a Charleston native and Burke High School graduate achieved international acclaim at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan for her 19.79 meters shot put throw. Saunders’ appearance will mark the first time that an Olympic Champion has led this parade.
This year, in another first, the parade route will conclude at the International African American Museum site, located at Gadsden’s Wharf, where up to 40% of all enslaved people brought to America disembarked from the ships. A brief ceremony will be held at the IAAM site at the end of the parade.
More than 75 units have already enrolled in the parade according to Robert Crawford, President of the Emancipation Proclamation Association (EPA). Proceeds from the parade’s enrollment fee will benefit the Albert W. Hunt Education Scholarship Program which is maintained by the EPA, a local non-profit organization and sponsor of the parade.
The January 1st parade will step-off at 11 a.m. from Burke High School and proceed East on Fishburne Street, North on Ashley Avenue, East on Sumter Street, South on King Street, East on Calhoun Street and South on Concord Street to the IAAM site.
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