The Roswell Roots Festival offers a monthlong festival dedicated to celebrating the history, heroics and innovations of the black community.
The festival in the northern suburb of Atlanta features a large variety of events — from lectures to concerts to theatrics to contests to film screenings and debates — that are scheduled to take place on a near daily basis.
The festival kicks off on Mon., Jan. 23 with an official proclamation in the Council Chambers at Roswell City Hall at 7 p.m. But things really start to heat up at Zion Missionary Baptist Church on the 29th. More on that below.
Roswell Roots represents opportunities for all ages and races to gain insight into how blacks sustained themselves, and how their habits, tactics, instincts and creativity became ingrained in American culture.
Here are six ways you and your family can interact with the living history at Roswell Roots Festival:
1. VISUAL ARTS
Roswell Roots Arts Festival, Roswell River Landing
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., Feb. 11. Free. Roswell River Landing, 245 Azalea Drive, Roswell. Artists from Roswell and the greater metro area will express their cultural identity through their art.
Negro League Sports Memorabilia
3-6 p.m. Feb. 25. Free. Roswell Branch library. 115 Norcross Street, Roswell. 770-640-3075. Roswell resident George Crumley shares his large collection of Negro League baseball player memorabilia. There will be artifacts from the world of boxing and basketball too. Watch and listen to a recording of players talking about the League and what it meant to them.
Unity Concert, Zion Missionary Baptist Church
3-5 p.m. Sun., Jan. 29. Free. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. 888 Zion Circle, Roswell. 770-641-3705. This will be a rafter raiser. Several church choirs including Zion will entertain and inspire. Special guests: The Sickle Cell Foundation of Georgia.
A Temptations Revue
8-10 p.m. Sat., Feb. 4. $30. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-594-6232. Ticket info. Led by a former Temptations lead singer, “Bo” Henderson, the revue will take you through the glory days of one of the greatest Motown bands.
West African Rhythms and Flavors
DrumRise, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Feb. 20. Free. Barrington Hall. 535 Barrington Dr., Roswell. 678-639-7500. DrumRise will play Guinean style drumming on the front lawn. Hang around long enough and you can join the drum circle.
Little Known Black History Facts
1 p.m., Feb. 12. Free. East Roswell Library. 2301 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell. 404-613-4050.
Having Our Say, The Delany Sisters First 100 Years
Feb. 16-March 5. $21-28.50. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 770-641-1260. Two African-American centenarians reflect on their long, rich lives and those who came before.
Story Time with Babatunde
11 a.m.-noon Mon., Feb. 6. Free. Roswell Branch library. 115 Norcross Street, Roswell. 770-640-3075. Come hear stories about a boy named Kweku and other traditional Africal tales told by Babatunde, an African "Freestyle" Storyteller.
The Untold Story of Roswell
3-4:30 p.m. Sun., Feb. 19. Free. Roswell Visitors Center, 617 Atlanta St. 770-640-3253. visitroswellga.com. Longtime Roswell residents will talk about growing up in Roswell's black community.
5. REMNANTS OF SLAVERY
Living History Skits
11 a.m. Sat., Feb. 11. Free. Smith Plantation. 935 Alpharetta St. 770-641-3978. Slave life was hard, none of us can really appreciate how hard. Imagine then what it would be like to be moved from coastal Georgia to Roswell. You don't have to imagine it, come hear characters talk about it. Living history will be all around you.
Slave Life in the Piedmont
10 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Sun. Adults $8, Seniors $7, Children $6 (6-16 yr.), free under 6. Bulloch Hall. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. www.bullochhall.org. This is a permanent exhibit, but February is the perfect time to visit Bulloch Hall's depiction of slave life in the 1840s. The slave quarters, carriage house and something called a privy will help you get a tiny feel for what just one aspect of life as a slave was like.
Bid Whist Card Party
12:30-4:30 p.m. Sat., Feb. 4. $5. Roswell Adult Recreation Center. 830 Grimes Bridge Road. 314-520-4775. Racial discrimination has historically extended to leisure activities, and Roswell’s Kings & Queens chapter of the American Bridge Association celebrates card-playing as a lasting diversion from strife with this "Party.” Active since 1932, the ABA has been an outlet for blacks who weren’t welcomed into mainstream parlor game leagues. If this sounds like fun call soon about tickets.
“Slammin’ in the Suburbs” Roswell Poetry Slam
Participant sign-up, 6 p.m., Slam, 7 p.m. Thurs., Feb. 23. Free. Roswell Historic Cottage. 972 Alpharetta St. (at Norcross St.) 770-641-3705. It's not a contact sport but it might feel like one. 15 poets will have a chance to claim the grand prize of ... $1000! Yes, we have the right number of zeroes following that 1. The Slam will be hosted by performance poet Theresa Davis.
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