Vintage KSDK | Annie Malone May Day Parade through the years

ST. LOUIS – It happens every May: Annie Malone’s annual May 1st parade!

Our KSDK archives contain footage of the celebration dating back to May 26, 1968.

But who is Annie Malone and why does she continue to inspire?

“She is truly an icon for the St. Louis area,” said Melanie Anderson Moore, chair of the board of Annie Malone Child and Family Services.

Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone was a local businesswoman, inventor and philanthropist known for her beauty empire during the first three decades of the 20th century.

“Annie Malone, is a trailblazer for St. Louis, really. I mean she was the first African American millionaire,” said Sara Lahman, CEO of Annie Malone Children and Family Services.

And she didn’t hesitate to help when the women of St. Louis who ran an orphanage for African-American children reached out to her. She donated her mansion as Annie Malone Home, which still serves as the group’s headquarters today.

“We have always focused on the host population and the children in our community who are in crisis,” Lahman explained.

This makes parade support so important.

It started 111 years ago as a way to support Annie Malone Child and Family Services mission and kickstart annual fundraising.

“It’s their showcase of their strengths,” Lahman said. “So this is something that we are proud of and that still has to be presented today.”

Generations of St. Louis dancing, clapping and performing in the country’s second largest African-American parade.

The procession will be virtual again this year, but the celebration is no less important.

“Even though it’s virtual, we have some exciting things planned,” said Anderson Moore. “We have Congresswoman Cori Bush as Grand Marshal, and we will have special appearances. I don’t want to reveal all the secrets but it’s going to be a good time.”

A beloved tradition preserved in our KSDK archives, highlighting a mission just as important as when Annie Malone herself was alive.

5 Rhyan Henson of On Your Side is the host of this year’s virtual parade.

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