Lincoln University of Missouri Honors its Heritage Through Iron Riders 125th Anniversary Celebration Sponsorship

By: Lincoln University

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — Commemorating the 25th Infantry Buffalo Solders Bicycle Corps’ arrival in Missouri 125 years ago, Lincoln University of Missouri recently cosponsored the 125th anniversary celebration of the Iron Riders.

Event organizers shared the little-known story of these soldiers and their extraordinary accomplishments through a series of events, July 17-24, at Big Lake State Park, Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site, St. Jude’s Square in Monroe City and the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park.

“Lincoln University is extremely proud to have cosponsored the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Iron Riders,” said Dr. Darius Watson, Lincoln University Interim Dean of Admissions and Enrollment.

As part of an experiment by the U.S. Army to determine the effectiveness of troop movement by bicycle, in July 1897, the all-Black Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps of the 25th Infantry embarked on a bicycle ride of more than 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri. After facing many obstacles such as extreme weather and a shortage of supplies, the 23 men of the journey were given the nickname “Iron Riders” for their iron-hard constitutions and the heavy one-speed bicycles they pedaled.

“Through recognition of the amazing accomplishments of the Iron Riders, Lincoln University was able to help bring together African-American history, the legacy of U.S. military veterans and the history of the state of Missouri in a single narrative that highlights our common heritage and shared pride as Americans,” Watson said.

In collaboration with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks, the Office of Missouri State Representative Ashley Bland-Manlove, and the Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter of the 9th & 10th Horse Calvary Association, Watson worked on facilitating the Missouri events and served as emcee at the reception in the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, St. Louis, on July 24.

The only HBCU established by Civil War veterans, Lincoln University holds a special relationship with U.S. military history and the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. 

Lincoln University of Missouri is a historically Black, 1890 land-grant, public university that provides excellent educational opportunities to a diverse population within a nurturing, student-centered environment. Lincoln is known for its innovative undergraduate and graduate programs in agriculture, business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, nursing, business administration, guidance and counseling, and natural science. Located in Jefferson City, Missouri, Lincoln University was founded in 1866 by the men of the 62nd and 65th United States Colored Infantries and their white officers for the benefit of freed African Americans. The university boasts an exciting residential life and a full slate of NCAA Division II athletics.