Members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club (BSMC) from all over took over the streets of Washington D.C. on May 25 for the "Eleventh Annual Buffalo Thunder Ride."
The BSMC gathered at Jericho City of Praise and drove as a unit to the African American Civil War Museum. Hundreds of bikes filled the streets of D.C. for the ceremony across the street from the museum.
Brigadier General C. David Turner of the South Pacific Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was the guest speaker. "African-American soldiers have served this great country with honor and distinction," Turner said. "The BSMC stands before us ready to serve for our communities."
Turner ended his remarks by shouting "Buffalo." The crowd responded, "Soldiers."
During the ceremony, a Fredrick Douglass High School senior received a $1,000 scholarship. The museum received a $2,500 grant.
"It's a long tradition and for them to come here on Memorial Day weekend to make a connection," Frank Smith, director of the African American Civil War Museum, said. "They do an honor to us and we're happy to be here for this event."
Tara Robinson, BSCM of New Jersey member, said, "This is such a great ceremony and list of events. I have met so many fellow members from various places."
"This is a great cause to not only promote what the Buffalo Soldiers did, but also to promote safe motorcycling," Robert Jackson, BSMC of North Carolina member, said.
BSMC is a national organization established in 1993, in Chicago, Ill. by Kenneth "Dream
Maker" Thomas. It was founded for the purpose of fostering unity and fellowship with motorcyclists in the Chicago area. It has grown from one chapter to over 100 nationwide and overseas. The members are professional men and women – mostly military, law enforcement, and civil service personnel – who are dedicated to motorcycle riding and safety, and educating the public about the accomplishments of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers.
Members engage in various community services including feeding the homeless, awarding scholarships to college-bound high school seniors, and motorcycle riding in support of organizations, like the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Susan B Komen Cancer foundation.
"This was my first time but I can't wait until next year already," Justin Gooden, BSMC of Ohio member, said.