According to the demographics of the city, the downtown area is the least Black populated area than any other part of the city. There are less than 300 Blacks that live in the whole zip code area.
As a matter of fact, the census lists only 269 Black residents in that zip code as compared to 5,756 living in the heavily populated Black zip code known as 92411. It would have been in keeping with their logic if they would have moved it to the 92404 area where there are now 8,454 Blacks. So there must have been other reasons to move the parade after 35 years.
There are only two sections of town that would have made sense to hold a Black history parade and that is in the old Valley Truck Farm area located in the southern part of San Bernardino and the Westside of the City of San Bernardino. These are the historical Black communities of San Bernardino.
They are historical because prior to the mid-sixties Blacks could not move into any other part of San Bernardino because of the color of their skin. Im sure the members of the committee have forgotten that part of the history. Maybe we need to have the committee revisit the 6th chapter of Deuteronomy on how and why we should not forget where we came from. So it could not be because of history that they wanted to change the parade route.
As the parade grew over the years many good and positive things came along with the gathering that would take place every 1st Saturday in February. The Black owned small business community would get an opportunity to increase their financial bottom line from the sale of soul food from the famous Bobby Rays Bar-B-Que.
Other vendors would sell their wares to the community. It was a day of celebration. Senior citizens would be pushed in wheelchairs by the nursing staff from the confined rooms to sit along the parade route to see people they had not seen since the last parade.
Children would walk from their adjacent neighborhood homes to see the celebrities and visit with other friends. The Elks Lodge on Mt. Vernon would stock up on beverages and food to sale to an eagerly awaiting public as the sun would heat up. The Nation Of Islam would peddle their famous bean pies to their happy awaiting customers. So it could not be because of low attendance that they moved the parade.
There are the Black owned newspapers located on the parade route of Baseline Avenue. The largest Black owned business is where the judges stand would be located on that parade route. There are over 30 churches pastored by Black preachers all located on the Westside. A $60 million comprehensive high school built in the city was built on the Westside because that is where the growth in population is.
A new $15 million shopping center was built on the Westside just a few years ago and last year a new senior citizens retirement home opened on Baseline beside the shopping center and in front of the old judges stand. So there had to be other reasons to want to change the parade route.
The White and Hispanic civic leaders came to participate in the parade because of its location and historical value to this often neglected community. The leadership of the area always could boast of at least being on the Westside during the Black History Parade. The Black community could see who their elected leaders were, so that could not be the reason they wanted to move the parade to another section of town.
Did they want to move it because they are ashamed of who we are? Did they want to move it because downtown businesses need the business? Did they move it because Arrowhead Stadium needs the business to help pay for the stadium? Did they move it downtown to help the ailing Carousel Mall?
The community is still trying to understand why they moved the parade to another location. They know some of the people on the committee but cant seem to put their finger on the motive.
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