8th Infantry Illinois National Guard Association

Bud Billiken Parade

Bud Billiken is a fictional character that was created by Robert Abbott, the publisher of the Chicago Defender Newspaper in 1923. Abbott was dining with Lucius Harper at a Chinese Restaurant while discussing the possibility of having a youth section in the newspaper. They noticed a figure on a glass, Billiken, the legendary Guardian Angel of Youth. And so, Bud Billiken came to be.

In the 1930’s African American youth throughout the world participated in the Bud Billiken Club each week. Every week the names of the youth would appear in the Bud Billiken section of the newspaper. From 1930-1934, approximately 10,000 names appeared and were put in the Harsh Collection in the Carter G. Woodson Regional Library of Chicago. The collection includes the city, state, and country of each youth as well as the date is was published in the newspaper. The names in the collection were from Canada clear out to Africa.

The Bud Billiken Parade, however, was not founded until 1929 when David Kellum appeared. This event was “created to provide a celebration for the unity in diversity for the children of Chicago.” Now the parade has grown to the second largest parade in the nation and is televised around the world.

For more information on the parade visit www.budbillikenparade.com.