African-American Man Leads Tournament of Roses for First Time


New Year’s Day brings extravagant floats and marching bands to Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard for the vibrant and venerable Tournament of Roses Parade.

For the first time in history, an African-American man is in charge of the festivities.

Gerald Freeny rose through the ranks of hundreds of “white suit volunteers” to become the 130th president of the Tournament of Roses.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to me. I try not to look at it as being the first African-American president. We have 935 volunteer members. I represent all of them, and they represent the fabric of our communities,” Freeny said.

His responsibilities include choosing the theme, the bands and the grand marshal.

“Those 30-plus years that I have in this organization, I have learned to run this organization. We have 31 committees and…

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