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Mayoral Candidate Thompson Among Leaders For African-American Day Parade

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton, mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, former Mayor David Dinkins and U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) were among the grand marshals Sunday for the African-American Day Parade in Harlem.

The parade, billed as the "largest black parade in America," headed north along Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard from 111th Street to 136th Street Sunday afternoon.

The 44th annual parade included a showcase of African-American achievements, queens and organizations reflecting African culture, a salute to historically black colleges, a call to stop racism and racial profiling, and organizations and bands representing 12 states.

"It feels good. It's a nice day, and the weather's good; everything is fine," spectator Mary Paterson told WCBS 880, adding that she most enjoys the marching bands.

"The whole parade is very nice, you know? People are very cooperative; very nice. I'm enjoying it so far," added another spectator named Steven.

The first African-American Day Parade was held in September 1969 in Harlem, with U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. serving as grand marshal. Everyone from Denzel Washington and Spike Lee to Johnnie Cochran and U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm has served as grand marshal in the past.

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