NSBE Pride on Parade


NSBE Pride on Parade

(left to right) Executive Director Carl B. Mack, National Chair Calvin Phelps and National Advisory Board Chair Tony Harris represented NSBE in August as honorary grand marshals of the 81st Annual Bud Billiken Parade, in Chicago.

The hometown of NSBE’s founders was the site of a special honor for the 35-year-old organization in August. Chicago Defender Charities, Inc., organizer of the annual Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic in Chicago, Ill., chose three leaders of the National Society of Black Engineers as honorary grand marshals of the parade this year. National Chair Calvin Phelps, Executive Director Carl B. Mack and National Advisory Board Chair Tony Harris represented NSBE at the event.

An 81-year tradition in the Windy City on the second Saturday of August, the Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic was started in 1929 by Robert S. Abbott, founder of the Chicago Defender, a famous African-American newspaper. Abbott’s effort to bring together and uplift his young paper distributors quickly grew to become what is now the largest back-to-school parade in the U.S. About 1.2 million persons lined the parade route this year, while 82,000 marched in the parade, reports Dr. L. Pettis Patton of Chicago Defender Charities and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Michael Jordan, Queen Latifah, Muhammad Ali, Lena Horne and President Barack Obama are among the many celebrities who have participated over the years. The theme of the event this year was “Education the American Way.” 

Harris, Phelps and Mack with the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. and Mack’s sons Jonathan (second from right) and Joshua (front)


Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to President Barack Obama


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