Gerald Freeny Named First Black President Of Tournament Of Roses

During Black History month we celebrate the accomplishments of African-American, but we tend to focus on past ground-breakers, heroes and pioneers. What makes these stories so captivating and inspirational is the fact that many of these people have risen out of impossible situations and defied incredible odds to rise to heights beyond the imagination. 

Gerald Freeny is an example of the Black excellence that occurs everyday. With every social, political, athletic, economic and educational achievement, Black history is being made. 

Freeny rose through the ranks of hundreds of “white suit volunteers” to become the 130th president of the Tournament of Roses, the New Year’s parade that is an institution in college football. For the first time in history, an African-American man is in charge of the festivities.

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Gerald Freeny is the first African-American president in the 130-year history 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.

According to an feature on Freeny, his responsibilities include choosing the theme, the bands and the grand marshal. Freeny has already selected “The Melody of Life” as the 2019 Rose Parade theme, which highlights music’s role as a universal language.

It took him 30 years, but Freeny has changed the face of college footballs most prestigious bowl. Its referred to as The Granddaddy Of Them All. 

Hes had three decades to study the organization. More importantly, hes a survivor and represents the true fighting spirit of college football.  

“I am a two time cancer survivor. I also had a liver transplant in 1993, and another liver and kidney in July 2015. The Lord has blessed me,” Freeny said.

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