Roswell Roots Black History festival to feature storytellers, performances and more

The annual Roswell Roots festival events honoring Black History and culture are not being stopped by the pandemic. More than 30 events presenting a blend of arts and culture, drumming and dance, storytelling, culinary experiences and education will take place Saturday through the end of February.

Several in-person events are planned and many others will be held virtually. Roswell requires masks be worn for in-person performances and talks. For social distancing safety measures, the city is selling tickets for events at places such as Roswell Cultural Arts Center in sets of two or four.

Acclaimed illustrator Mechal Renee Roe will appear for two artist talks. Roe illustrated “Superheroes are Everywhere,” a picture book of empowering messages by Vice President Kamala Harris. She’s authored and illustrated her own books including “Happy Hair,” “Cool Cuts” and “I Love Being You.” Roe will be at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center 10:30 a.m. Feb 6 and 3 p.m. Feb. 21.

Youth art workshops by The Paint Love Studio will be held at Art Center West and Roswell Visual Arts Center throughout February. Students will paint and work with clay to create images related to African history. Paint Love is a nonprofit that brings art activities to children experiencing poverty and trauma.

The Black experience of working on the Archibald Smith Plantation from growing farm crops to building structures and maintaining the property, as well and the changing of times from post-Civil War into the 20th century will be discussed by Veta Tucker Ph.D. from noon - 4p.m. Feb. 13 at Smith Plantation. Tucker is a retired professor of African American Studies and African American literature at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Enslaved people built the historic home after arriving in Georgia with the Smith family in 1838. The Smiths were one of Roswell’s founding families.

Works by the late artist Daniel Hodges will be displayed in Roswell City Hall through the end of February. Hodges’ work features images of Kobe Bryant, former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama as well as people in everyday life.

Visit the Roswell Roots website for a complete list of events.