Columbus hosts bike ride through history for Juneteenth

Published: Jun. 20, 2023 at 10:24 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A variety of events happened in the Chattahoochee Valley to celebrate Juneteenth, a federal holiday marking the end of slavery, including a family-oriented bike ride through African American history.

“We’ll actually be riding to take a deeper look at the historical black churches we have in downtown with their beautiful architecture, the structural nature of building, stained glass windows, and anything that’s the historical nature of the church and how they relate to our community,” the president of Bicycle Columbus, Brian Lackey, said.

The ride started at Metropolitan Baptist, and then proceeded to Saint James A.M.E Church and the Ma Rainey House.

“Ma Rainey... I didn’t know she was from Columbus. I heard about the name, but I just didn’t know she was from here,” said Columbus resident, Melvin Ombori.

Then, the bike riders traveled to First African Baptist Church.

“First African was that place that they sought refuge, and the men that served this congregation, they were constantly having to give comfort and consolation for the conditions that the people their were living in,” Dirk Wheeler said.

Finally, the ride concluded at the slave cemetery on 6th Avenue.

“We want people to absorb the history of our community. We have such a rich history in Columbus, GA over so many centuries. It’s just so much information here, and the more we learn about our community the more we are actually brought together in our community,” Lackey said.

“All of us are in this all together, and it’s important that the entire community embraces the celebration because it makes us all better. I think the empathy or being empathetic around the African American plight is something that’s very important for all of us to lift everybody up so we can all be a better community, and that’s just really what this celebration, this weekend and the entire month has done,” co-chair of the 2023 Juneteenth Comitte, Oz Roberts said. “It’s just been great. We could not have asked for the community to support us any more than they’ve done this year, but look forward to next year as things will be bigger and better.