Mary Meachum Celebration

The Unfair Fair

Join Us: Saturday, May 5, 2018


 Check out more photos from last year’s event on Facebook!

All ages welcome to the mighty Mississippi’s banks to experience
an exciting and important piece of St. Louis history!

The Unfair Fair

Prejudice on the Pike

16th Annual Mary Meachum Celebration
Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 12-5pm

In 1855 , a free-born black woman, Mary Meachum, believed slavery was wrong and did something about it.
In 1865, slavery ended and brought with it many new beginnings.
In 1904, the world was invited to St. Louis, unless you were a person of color. Then you worked or were on display. Join us to rediscover the full history of St. Louis moment in the world spotlight.

The 1904 Louisiana Exposition World’s Fair has always been source of pride for the city, but not all of the story has been told.  Everyone was not invited to the fair, nor treated equally. Hence the name of our event this year, “The Unfair Fair.”

There will be a “Pike” along the bike trail to recreate the festivities of the 1904 World’s Fair. On the stage, there will be church choirs singing the new type of church music – gospel. Of course, there will be a performance of vignettes recreating the Black experience on the main stage and throughout the festival site. There will be Vaudeville type acts, including magic show by Circus Harmony, and some international acts such Middle Eastern Dance and African drumming. To represent the Anthropology Village that had humans on display, we are using life size photos from the fair to explain the various cultures that were exploited for others’ enjoyment during the fair.

Representation and context matters. In a region where people reference this event on a weekly basis and has shaped our region’s culture, showcasing the full range of experiences from that time is of critical importance to everyone understanding the long and complicated history of race relations in St. Louis. The World’s Fair, being a ubiquitous and beloved topic, is a great example of how there is always more to the story.

We are still recruiting both performing acts and vendors to sell food, drinks or goods. If you would like to participate, please contact Angela at or by calling 314-865-0708.


Take Highway 70 to Grand Ave: East toward river; North on Hall to Prairie; Right on Prairie to site & parking. Rangers & shuttles can direct you to the event from there!


Special thanks to our sponsors and funders for this event:

Great Rivers Greenway
Missouri Division of Tourism
Missouri Humanities Council

Download the rack card to share with friends!