Parade celebrates Black History Month

U.S. Representative Al Lawson waving at bystanders. Photo by Adahlia Thomas

QUINCY — On the sunny and windy morning of the last day of February, folks were lined up along Stewart and Crawford streets to witness the 2020 Black History Month Parade, coordinated by the City of Quincy.

Quincy is a small, close-knit town of about 7,000 people. It is the county seat of Gadsden County just northwest of Leon County. It is about 20 miles west of Tallahassee. states, “The town is a good example of Southern architecture from the era before the Civil War and during the Victorian period; several buildings and places in Quincy are on the National Register of Historic Places.”

Every year, the City of Quincy puts together a parade to celebrate Black History Month and all of the Black pioneers who paved a way and brought success for the Black community.

U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, who is a Quincy native, thought that it was important for the city to keep its Black History Month parade tradition.

“It’s real important that the community keep[s] parades like this because it’s good for our culture and history, for all the accomplishments, especially in Gadsden County,” Lawson said. “Gadsden has a rich history of Black leaders throughout America, so, it’s really great to come home.”

FAMU DRS’ Marching Band. Photo by Adahlia Thomas

The parade lineup included the marching bands of FAMU DRS, Shanks Middle School, and West Gadsden Elementary School. It also featured a sports car group, a host of elementary and middle school royal courts, and members of different Greek organizations.

Jaisy Billins, another Quincy native, said she enjoys the people and the atmosphere that the parade brings every year.

“I just love seeing people come together on one accord, seeing the people in the African attire, and the food,” Billins said.

Black History Month, which grew from Negro History Week, was created by Carter G. Woodson to celebrate the many accomplishments of African Americans. According to Time magazine, “Woodson witnessed how Black people were underrepresented in the books and conversations that shaped the study of American history.” For this reason alone, Lawson finds Black History Month very important to him.

“Well, Black history is American history and it’s very important because this country wouldn’t be what it is today without Black people who built this country,” Lawson said. “In fact, here, in Gadsden County, when I was growing up, everything that you see here was basically done by African Americans, so it’s important that we still celebrate and commemorate those who came before us … and we want to make sure that we carry forward.”

Quincy’s next Black History Month Parade will be on Feb. 28, 2021 at 11 a.m. The parade route will be identical to this year’s route.