Congratulations to the Chicago Defender Charities for yet another wonderful #89th Annual Bud Billiken Parade. Thank you to all of you for such a wonderful reception. One of the reasons why I am running for mayor is because all of our children deserve a great education. #Hope4AllChicago #DorothyForMayor #ChicagoDefenderCharities
About the Bud Billiken Parade
Robert Sengstacke Abbott, a Georgian native and son of freedman slaves, was formally trained as an attorney. However, upon settling in Chicago, he learned the printing trade and founded a newspaper in 1905, still in publication called the Chicago Defender.
He pushed for job opportunities and social justice, and was eager to persuade African Americans to leave the segregated, Jim Crow South for Chicago. A key part of his distribution network was made up of African American railroad porters, who were highly respected among African Americans – adding to the reputation and credibility of the newspaper. The Chicago Defender is often noted as having played a major role in initiating the Great Migration, during 1915-1919, resulting in approximately 1.3 million African Americans to northern cities.
The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic was born out of a youth section in the newspaper, based on a fictional Billiken character, a guardian angel of children around the world. The parade, which began on August 11, 1929, was intended to be a symbol of pride, happiness and hope, as well as represented unity in diversity for the children of Chicago. It is now the second largest parade in the nation, featuring marching bands, drill and dance teams, cheer and tumbling groups. It has grown to a sponsored event with major corporate donors, civic organizations, politicians, and celebrities, and as such all parade sponsors contribute to a scholarship fund for local youth.
The parade has been managed by the Chicago Defender Charities since 1945 and continued under the leadership of John H.H. Sengstacke until his passing in 1997. Myiti Sengstacke-Rice now continues the legacy of 4 generations – she was voted President and CEO in February 2017.