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2nd Year State Holiday
284th year Negro Election Day


Flag raising.jpg

Flag Raising

July 19, 2024

Citywide & County wide flag Raising
Time:  12:00 p.m. (EST)

Riley Plaza
1-21 Margin Street, Salem, MA 01970









On July 19, 2024 

The Black American Heritage flag, designed in 1967 by Melvin Charles and Gleason T. Jackson, military veterans. will fly for Negro Election Day 284th year.  Come out and celebrate with us.


Flag Raising Program:

-Opening song:  National Black Anthem

Opening Remarks from tba

-tba, Community Participant

-TBA:   St. Rep Manny Cruz

Jacquelynn Coles
      Member of Salem United Inc.

-    Raising of the flag - Music recorded by Ray Charles, America The Beautiful.


- C e r me o n y C o n c l u d e s 



July 20, 2024

Negro Election Day Flag Raising
Time:  1:30 p.m. (EST)

Salem Willows Park
165 Fort Avenue, Salem, MA 01970

Statement from Congressman Seth Moulton

"I am proud to support Salem United Inc. in honoring the 284th Negro Election Day Parade and to provide the American flag for this year’s flag raising ceremony.

"We live in the greatest country on Earth, not because it’s perfect, but because generations of American heroes have fought to make it better. Millions of Black Americans have fought for America in its wars: over one million in World War II and 300,000 in Vietnam. Today, Black soldiers serve in our military at a rate higher than their representation in the U.S. population. 

"Despite this, far too many Americans do not understand the great sacrifices Black Veterans have made for our country. After World War II, systemic racism robbed Black Veterans and their families of the opportunities they were owed by denying them GI Bill benefits. We can never fully repay those American heroes, but I am committed to fixing this inequity going forward. 

"I want to thank the organizers from Salem United Inc., as well as the parade grand marshal Marvin Gilmore, a Veteran whose legacy of service is an example for us all." 

Flag Raising Program:

Negro Election Day
Saturday July 20th, 2024
1:30 pm

The M.C. will introduce themself; say a welcome to the audience in the park and introduce the Clergy.

The Clergy will open the program in prayer and say a few words of welcome.


M.C. will Introduce singer.

-Opening song:  National Black Anthem

Rose Placid, Singer 

The M.C. Will introduce the host.

1.  M.C. will introduce the President of Salem United, Doreen Wade,

2.  Judith Reilly, Salem United Board and League of Women Voters

3.  Representative from Seth Moulton’s office (he cannot come).

Will speak for 1 minute.  


Doreen Wade will introduce the honored guest.

TBA will speak for 2 minutes.

The M.C. Will introduce the Grand Marshalls.


Grand Marshall's:
1.  Marvin Gilmore
2.  Grand Marshalls
3.  TBA

3    TBA
Grand Marshalls will speak 1 minute each.


- Flag Presentation ceremony; will present flag by TBA to City Official

City Official (TBA)


They will all raise flags.
2 Black American heritage Flag of 1967
1.  American Flag 


The music “The colors” will play as flag is being raised.

- C e r me o n y C o n c l u d e s 

Flag raising.jpg


We are honored to have The Black American Heritage flag represent this wonderful history.  Every year we will do a flag raising in honor of the men and their families who designed this majestic flag.

The Black American Heritage flag was designed in 1967 by Melvin Charles and Gleason T. Jackson. According to the designers, "...the elements of the flag include the color black to represent pride and pigmentation and race; red, to remind us of the rich blood black men have shed for freedom, equality, justice and human dignity throughout the world; and gold, to represent intellect, prosperity, and peace. These colors are woven into a composition that juxtaposes the red and black in a set of three stripes: one black stripe centered between two red."
"Superimposed on the black stripe is a golden wreath of fig leaves. The cultivated fig is a native of Africa, and ranks as one of the most ancient of life-sustaining fruits. Centered within the golden wreath is a blunted Moorish boarding sword, symbol of leadership carried by the great Moorish leaders of the 8th century. The sword represents the strength and authority exhibited by a black culture that made many contributions to the world in mathematics, art, medicine, and physical science, heralding the contributions that black Americans would make in these and other fields."

2022 will bring this added event.  We will show our flag with pride and explain what the flag means.  We are using this day as a day of pride a day of education and a day of working toward self-governing for our community and many other communities of color.  We are not Minority Communities we are pride communities of Color.  

Why Negro Election Day Celebration Is Represented by The Black American Heritage Flag of 1967

In 2019, Doreen Wade, President of Salem United, Inc. the Organization which hosts and produces the annual Negro Election Black celebration, searched for a flag to represent the history of the first black voting system in America.   She wanted a symbol which said Black America, however, no flag symbol could be found at the time.  


She found a website listing all flags which represented black.  Each description labeled its flags, African, or Pan African but no Black American.  And then almost at the bottom of the list was a flag called Black American Heritage Flag of 1967.  Everything it described represented everything Salem United, Inc. stood for.    


Doreen began to search for a family member who could give her permission to have the flag represent Salem United's Negro Election Day celebration.   It took a week but she connected with a woman, who become known as Joy Kay and identified as Mr. Melvin Charles’s daughter.  


We had the opportunity to talk and I learnt a lot about the history of the flag, the history of Mr. Melvin Charles and her history.  If felt a strong bond especially after finding out he was a Veteran, a Navy man.  I could relate because many of the men in my family were in the military, and that dates back to my 5th generation grandfather, Charles A Potter, who served in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment along with his cousins, and his son who, as a minor, lied about his age so as to serve.  


Today the flag is raised in honor of this talented man, why he designed the flag and what our history stands for.  

We want to thank Joy Kay as she moves from Salem United, Inc. Member to Ex-officio board member.  She will be sharing her valued for their knowledge, expertise and experience.  


Judith Reilly

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