Woman Snubbed Over 50 Years Ago By Rose Parade Over Her Race Snubbed By TV Broadcasts
Although she was finally given the chance to ride in the Rose Parade over 50 years after having the honor taken away from her, Joan Williams is disappointed her inspirational story couldn't be shared with a much larger audience on TV.Williams was set to represent the city of Pasadena in the 1958 Rose Parade as Miss Crown City, but was unexpectedly denied the chance after word had gotten out that the fair-skinned woman was African-American. She felt that her story would have been the perfect chance to start 2015 on a positive note after the police killings of unarmed black men, including Michael Brown and Eric Garner, made headlines throughout 2014. "The opportunity came and it seemed to be a great opportunity to show good faith and to begin the year on a happy note," she told the Pasadena Star-News.
Williams received a warm welcome along Colorado Boulevard on that cold New Year's Day morning, including a sign that read "Congratulations Joan Williams" near Pasadena City College. However, those who watched the parade from home were left in the dark over Williams' presence, even though she rode in the lead float that carried the theme "Inspiring Stories."
Williams was made aware of the snub by friends who tuned in and were left disappointed. "Many people across this nation are incensed about it," she said. The Tournament of Roses provides media outlets with information to use on their broadcasts, which this year included Williams' bio. She had heard from one broadcaster that they chose to "go in a different direction." Some viewers took to social media to voice their outrage:
"My great disappointment was to learn after I got home, there wasn't really any commentary by the stations that were covering the parade, not even just a short bio," said the octogenarian. "It just was very shocking and a cause for concern."
"But there's nothing I can do about it."