Charleston holds annual Emancipation Parade Sunday

Published: Jan. 1, 2023 at 1:00 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 1, 2023 at 8:26 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston will kick off the new year with its 160th Signing of the Emancipation Proclamation Annual Parade on Sunday afternoon, which will affect traffic in the downtown area.

Charleston native Cyrus Birch III, an actor and motivational speaker who also performed stunts in the movie “Black Panther,” will serve as this year’s grand marshal.

The Emancipation Parade celebration began in Charleston in 1866, making it the most consistent parade in the United States, according to the city’s Emancipation Proclamation Association, which organizes the parade and celebration each year.

The event celebrates the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln and its announcement on Jan. 1, 1863, as the United States approached its third year of the Civil War.

The proclamation intended to forever free all slaves in southern states and also announced the acceptance of Black men into the Union Army and Navy, a move the association said enabled “the liberated to become liberators.”

Live 5 anchor Ann McGill and Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh will take part in this year’s parade.

Police release road closures ahead of parade

The parade will begin on Fishburne Street near Burke High School. It will then travel east to Ashley Avenue, then north to Sumter Street, east to King Street, south to Calhoun Street, and east to Concord Street before turning to disassemble on Laurens Street.

Charleston Police released a list of road closures for the event:

The parade lineup area will close to traffic starting at 11:30 a.m. The parade lineup area includes:

  • Fishburne Street in front of Burke High School
  • Fishburne Street turning North onto Hagood Avenue

The parade route will begin closing to traffic starting at 2 p.m. The parade route includes:

  • Fishburne Street from Hagood Avenue to Ashley Avenue
  • Ashley Avenue from Fishburne Street to Sumter Street
  • Sumter Street from Ashley Avenue to King Street
  • King Street from Ashley Avenue to Calhoun Street
  • Calhoun Street from King Street to Concord Street
  • Concord Street from Calhoun Street to Laurens Street
  • Laurens Street for disassembly

Charleston Police say all roads should reopen by 3:30 p.m.

Police are encouraging people to park outside of the parade route to allow room for the parade vehicles, pedestrians, and first responders.

The parade will culminate in Gadsdenboro Park with a festival to include entertainment, food trucks and vendors. Parking on Concord Street from Calhoun to Laurens Streets will be restricted during the parade and festival.

The event will conclude at 6 p.m.