Newark's Broad Street was bursting with stunning skydivers, giant dinosaurs, spirited dancers and more Sunday for the 46th annual African-American Heritage Parade, the biggest cultural celebration in the state.
The two-and-a-half hour parade, which spanned from Lincoln Park to Mulberry Street and Edison Place, was dedicated to the with brother and former state Assemblyman William D. Payne serving as grand marshal. The longstanding parade, organized by the African-American Heritage Parade Commission, is the premier event of the four-day festival held every year at Weequahic Park.
"Every child must know of the contributions that African Americans have made to make this country what it is," said Payne.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the New Jersey act that created the Amistad Commission to ensure African-American history is properly taught within schools.
"It's not just an African-American thing, it's not just for Newark or Camden, but it's for all the state," said Payne, remembering his brother as a staunch advocate for education.
The parade also paid tribute to historic black figures like Malcolm X, Paul Robeson, President Barack Obama, , Trayvon Martin and Gil Noble with large inflated balloons. The late congressman was commemorated with a float ridden by family members, including son and Newark City Council President Donald M. Payne Jr.
"May (Donald M. Payne Sr.'s) memory, may his spirit and may his life continue to illuminate our city," said Mayor Cory Booker.
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