Launched in 2019 and held over Juneteenth Weekend, the CDYMCA African Heritage Parade celebrates the African Diaspora in the United States with a parade in downtown Albany. This parade leads into Albany's annual Juneteenth Celebration and Festival. 

People of the African Diaspora are global and dynamic, representing many nationalities, cultures, and languages. We all have one thing in common: Africa. Come celebrate!

  • Celebrate the African Diaspora
  • Represent your culture
  • Music and dance

Interested in getting involved? Sign up today to participate and sponsor the 2024 parade on Saturday, June 15! 

Volunteer opportunities are available.

Parade Sponsor Logos

Show your support

  • Parade Sponsor: $3,000
    • Pre-event reception address
    • Recognition signage
    • Logo on t-shirt for all participants
    • Logo on website
    • Vendor table
  • Community Sponsor: $2,300
    • Recognition signage
    • Pre-event reception
    • Logo on t-shirt for all participants
    • Logo on website
    • Vendor table
  • Contributing Sponsor: $1,500
    • Pre-event reception
    • Logo on t-shirt for all participants
    • Logo on website
    • Vendor table
  • Champion Sponsor: $500
    • Logo on t-shirt for all participants
    • Logo on website
    • Vendor table

2024 Parade Honorees

dr. bassey essien smiling at camera

Dr. Bassey Edet Essien

Dr. Bassey Edet Essien is a long-time resident of the Capital District of Albany, NY, and a retired employee of the NYS office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). He received his Doctor of Education and Master of Science degrees from SUNY-Albany. He also received a bachelor’s degree from American University in Washington, DC. Prior to Migrating to Albany.          

In 2012, Dr. Essien Published his memoir, Voice from the Mangrove Swamps, a narrative of his childhood experience, working as a fisherman with his father on the Costal Swamps of Nigeria, West Africa.

Bassey is a father of many children including at least one medical doctor and an engineering professor. He has been an outstanding contributor to the Capital District Community Development and enlightenment. He served as a sixth-term President of the Association of Nigerian in the Capital District (ANCD). ANCD caters to the interest and aspirations of different Nigerians and other Africans in the Capital region.

For many years, he has been a devout member of the Black Catholic Apostolate Diocese of Albany, NY. Dr. Essien was also a member of St. Charles Lwanga Center of the Catholic Diocese. He is an active member of the Niskayuna Rotary Club, A group that is devoted to the general welfare of humanity world-wide.

African American History Parade is Pleased to welcome Dr. Bassey Essien as one of our Grand Masters.


Tatiana Cunningham

Founder of the Capital of New York State Black Expo, and the 501(c)(3) non-profit Bluebird Organization, Tatiana launched both initiatives to offer opportunities and support for her community.  

Under the guidance of her grandmother, Anette DeLavallade, who was an active entrepreneur and trailblazer in the Albany community, Tatiana was inspired to hone her entrepreneurial skills at a young age and has been enterprising since the age of eight. 

Tatiana continues to inspire and encourage success among small businesses both locally and nationally. She holds steadfast in her belief that entrepreneurship can drive life-changing success and evolution. Cunningham continues to leverage her learned lessons, experiences and wisdom to help inform the growth and development of the next generation.  

Tatiana has received congressional recognition and is the recipient of the YWCA Northeastern NY Diversity & Inclusion Award, Kazi Award, CNYS Black Expo Torch Bearer Award, Queens of Inspiration Award and The Women Who Rock Award. Her expertise has been featured in the Albany Business Review, The Saratogian, and Newsbreak.

David Traynham

Pastor David F. Traynham

Pastor David’s journey in community service began in 1990 as he and his wife Brenda established New Horizons Christian Church.  In addition to sharing the Message of Christ, his desire was to Bridge the Gap between the Church and the community. This was done in a number of material ways.

In January of 2020, Pastor David was reassigned as he pulled back from the daily responsibilities of the church. He continues with his initial calling through virtual ministry each week.

In addition to being the founder of New Horizons Christian Church, in 2014 he established ALERT Partnership Inc. As Founder, Chairman, and Executive Director of the Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team, through ALERT Pastor David provides opportunities for the residents of the Albany region to engage with law enforcement on federal, state, and local levels.

Pastor David advocates for the underserved and has given his life to ensure that righteousness, justice, and peace, prevails in the region.

Headshot of Corey Ellis

Corey Ellis

Corey was raised in Albany’s South End. Corey was first elected in 2018 as Albany Common Council President. Prior to being elected as President, Corey served as a member of the Albany Common Council in 2006-2009 being a representative for the Arbor Hill, Sheridan Hollow, and Ten Broeck triangle neighborhoods, and parts of West Hill. 

As President of the Common Council, Corey co-authored the cities equity agenda legislation. Corey also worked with his fellow council members to introduce police reform legislation, in which he co-authored legislation creating an Independent Citizens Police Review Board. The citizens of Albany voted overwhelming supporting the creation of an Independent Police Review Board as well as electing Corey to a second term. 

Prior to serving on the Albany Common Council as President, Corey continued to stand up and fight for working men and women in labor. Corey serves as the Upstate Political Director for New York State Nurse Association, helping pass safe staffing legislation for the first time ever in the state of New York. Corey has served as Chair of the Board of Directors of New York State Labor Religion/ Coalition. He served on the inaugural board of Directors for Albany County’s Land Bank. The land bank was created to deal with the blight and abandoned buildings in Albany County. 

Corey always remembering his roots while growing up in Albany, served on the Board of Directors for Albany Community Action Partnership that runs Albany Head Start Programs, a program Corey attended as child. Corey serves on the board of director of the Albany Black Chamber of Commerce and is a founding member. He also, is Chair for the Albany Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The community has recognized Corey’s contribution with numerous awards including Metro Land Local Hero Award. Hudson Valley Community College Humanitarian Service Award, NAACP Public Service Award, Founders Day Award from Albany City PTA, Bishop Maginn Hall of Fame, and our New York State Comptroller’s Labor recognition award. Corey resides in the Pine Hill section of Albany. He graduated from Bishop Maginn Highschool, and has an Associates Degree from Hudson Valley Community College, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Fordham University.

mckinley johnson headshot

Bishop McKinley B. Johnson, Sr.

Bishop McKinley B. Johnson, Sr., is the Senior Pastor of the Greater St. John’s Church of God in Albany, NY. Born in Albany and is a lifelong native of Albany, NY. He is the 2nd born child to the late, legendary Albany religious Icon, Supt. John “Jack” and Dorothy Johnson. It was in 1957 that Bishop Johnson married his childhood sweetheart, the vivacious, anointed “Lady Florine “Sue” Johnson.” They have been married for 67 years. They have (6) children, (17) grandchildren, (15) great-grandchildren.

In 1957 he began his preaching ministry. During the year 1971 he became the Director of Youth Activities for West #1 NY Jurisdiction. Bishop McKinley Johnson is widely known as the President of the original “YOUTH EXPLOSION,” a youth organization he established in 1972. For (33) years the Youth Explosion brought together thousands of youths from across America to a dynamic, explosive weekend Youth Conference. He has traveled for over 50 years conducting revivals, and marriage seminars with his wife of 67 years. In 1998, he was appointed as the Northeast Regional Director for the International Youth Dept. in COGIC. After serving faithfully under his father for (42) years as the Assistant Pastor, in 2000 he became the Sr. Pastor of Greater St. Johns Church. 

Currently, he is the CEO and founder of the St. Johns Community Development Corporation. Civically and sociably, he was one of ten persons chosen to represent Albany, NY at President Clinton’s Summit on Youth in Philadelphia, Pa. Recently, he just stepped down as the President but stays an active member of The Albany African American Clergy for Empowerment organization. Bishop Johnson participates as a Board member of several Community Organizations. The countless recipient of many community awards to mention for Social Justice and Community Advocacy groups. He graduated with high honors and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY of Albany, NY and continuing to work towards his Master of Divinity degree at Mid-American Bible School of Theology.

Bishop McKinley Johnson is deeply committed to family, church, community, and humanity. He just wants to continue the spiritual and community legacy from his father and leave a mark on this generation to pave a brighter path for the next one!!

Image of Kevin Pryor

Kevin Pryor

Kevin Pryor has dedicated his life to improving communications between local residents, businesses and government entities.  The words “steadily tenacious” can only begin to describe him.  Yet, throughout his endeavors he remains a humble servant, even after the goals are met. 


Born and raised in Troy, NY during a time when this country was in the midst of civil rights movements, war and extensive drug crisis.  Two days before his tenth birthday, Kevin’s father passed away.  And although Kevin was the middle child of seven he instinctively stepped into the patriarch’s role taking care of the family.  At the age of fourteen Kevin helped organize a trip to an amusement park for the community and needless to say, he loved it and good at it.  Serving others became second nature to him, approaching others with an idea and a plan for improving one situation or another, and has not stopped since.


Kevin Pryor attended Troy High School and Schenectady County Community College.  Kevin now works as Director of Diversity, Opportunity, and Outreach for the City of Troy, NY.  Known as K.P> among his peers, his name is synonymous with basketball and all sporting events.  His gentle personality and dependable character make him approachable with problems as well as solutions.  Needless to say, his is one of the most popular and available persons in his community.


A few summers ago Kevin began organizing Friday night movies using a makeshift screen and projector.  Not only did the kids flock to these events but parents as well.  Kevin then began organizing basketball games with some of  the youngsters in the community.  Now he recruits over a hundred kids and several adults residents to act as coaches and chaperones.  Kevin Pryor is an enthusiastic and helpful individual who displays a strong moral character.  His involvement in many activities and events with the youth of our community provides an excellent example of his commitment and dedication.  His goal is open a safe zone building with grass roots components providing a home for our youth and families beyond today.