Festivals

Buffalo Soldiers & Bicycles

When: Sat., May 6, 10 a.m. 2017

Mary Meachum was a free-born black woman who fought slavery by helping black people cross the Mississippi from St. Louis into the free state of Illinois during 1855. Every year her courage and conviction is remembered at the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site (St. Louis Riverfront Trail at Prairie Avenue; www.marymeachum.org). This year's event promises to be bigger than ever, with a 10 a.m. bike ride and black history tour along Riverfront Trail, followed by a celebration in honor of Meachum and the 25th Colored Infantry (the "buffalo soldiers" of legend), who covered an incredible 1,900 miles on bicycle from Montana to St. Louis in the summer of 1897. Their mission was to test out the bicycle as a possible conveyance for soldiers in the pre-automobile era; they arrived in St. Louis 41 days later and were greeted by rapturous crowds. The buffalo soldiers will be honored starting at noon, with performances by choirs, dancers and historic reenactors. There will also be games and activities for kids, concessions and a barn dance starting at 4:15 p.m. Admission to Buffalo Soldiers and Bicycles is free.

Paul Friswold

Price: free admission