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LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Mayor Michael D. Antonovich recognized Pasadena resident Joan Williams, 82, who rode in the 127th Rose Parade in January — 58 years after being denied the opportunity to participate in the parade due to racial discrimination.
In 1957, Joan was 27 years old and worked for the City of Pasadena in the municipal office as an accountant-clerk when she was named “Miss Crown City,” an honor given to a Pasadena City employee who would ride on the city’s rose parade float. The honor was similar to the “Rose Queen” title and “Miss Crown City” would attend numerous events leading up to the parade representing the city.
However, when some city officials found out she was African-American, she was denied the opportunity to ride on the city’s float. 58 years later, the city and the Tournament of Roses asked her to ride on the city’s float last New Year’s Day.
Williams has three children who were aware of her story, and four grandchildren who she can now tell her story to, but with a happier ending.