Drumlines and Tassels: Black History as Everyone's History in Riverside

Source: KCET

It's all about the tassels. The tassels on the boots of the drill teams who strut down Riverside's Market Street in formation, their short skirts swaying from side to side, their smiles wide and their crisp salutes to the crowds lining the sidewalks cheering for them. The drumline behind them, making the whole crowd dance to the primal beat of wood and skin.

The San Bernardino Pacesetters, founded way back in 1959 to instill pride and culture and joy and practice to black girls in San Bernardino; the drill team of Desert Highlands Unity Center in Palm Springs, formed 30 years ago for the same reasons. The Greater Victory Church of God in Christ (also San Bernardino) sent a drill team with three age groups, from tiny new marchers to women of a certain age, all dressed in feathers and flowing dashikis to honor Carter G. Woodson. This is the Riverside Black History Parade, the 35th Annual event begun by Dell Roberts in this Southern California city to honor not only national black history, but our own local heroes.