COLUMBIA- CoMo 200 and the Mayor’s Task Force on Bicentennial Celebration Planning has planned events for the whole weekend to celebrate the history of the city as well as the Fourth of July.
This morning was the annual Parley P. Pratt Freedom Run, which began at the Boone County Courthouse. Runners could choose to run either a one or four mile race.
The race first started in the 1970s, and the finish line is nearly a couple hundred feet down from where Parley P. Pratt started his run for freedom in 1839 after escaping from jail. Pratt was a church leader in Columbia, and he wanted religious freedom.
The four mile course passes by 28 local symbols of the First Amendment freedoms. Some of those symbols are the Columbia Tribune, Boone County Courthouse and the First Baptist Church.
Newell Kitchen is the co-director of the Freedom Run, and has been for the past 25 years. He is not the only one involved in the run; his whole family volunteers.
“We feel like it’s important to draw attention to freedom on Independence Day,” Kitchen said. “It’s good to come together and say the Pledge [of Allegiance] and honor our veterans and have a message about these freedoms.”
Another event celebrating CoMo 200 were the African American Heritage Trail Tours. The tours were guided and started and ended at the Blind Boone Home.
The trail is two miles long, and has 28 markers to honor local Black people and institutions from the first 200 years of Columbia’s history. The tours today visited 10 of those markers.
One of the markers on the tour was the Sharp End. The Sharp End was a business district that was for Columbia’s Black community from the early 1900s to the 1960s. The Sharp End was destroyed during the urban renewal.
Annelle Whitt gave tours Saturday for the event. Whitt said she hopes the tours are more than a cultural experience for those who go on the tours.
“The African American Trail represents history that is a part of that 200 years,” Whitt said. “To celebrate [the bicentennial] we have to celebrate all of Columbia’s history.”
There are more events going on this weekend for the CoMo 200. Sunday there will be a Fourth of July celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Flat Branch Park.