African Day Parade Dances Through Harlem

By Julie Shapiro and Paul Lomax  on September 23, 2012 2:31pm

HARLEM — Hundreds of people celebrated their African heritage at a festival in Harlem on Sunday.

Performers in brightly colored costumes drummed and danced in the street as the 6th Annual African Day Parade marched down Malcolm X Boulevard from West 135th Street to a festival in Marcus Garvey Park.

This year's theme was "First-Class Tour to African Heritage," and organizers said the goal was to honor the diverse cultures of Africa's 54 countries.

"Today is about showing all of America what Africa is all about," said Momodole Jaola, 10, who is from Gambia.

Children waved flags from their native countries and got their faces painted in preparation for the festivities, while singers, bands and masked dancers performed.

"Today we are here to showcase our art, our culture and our history to the people of America," said Tony Poenou, 35, a Harlem resident. "It's going to be a great day."

The African Day Parade was scheduled to march down Malcolm X Boulevard from West 135th Street to 122nd Street, followed by a festival in Marcus Garvey Park, 124th Street and Madison Avenue, from 4 to 7 p.m.

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