Where are the Black People In Roller Skating?

21 Jan

I was checking out roller skating books at Harold Washington Library, and there were very few black people in the few books I found.  Bill Butler’s book is the only book that featured black people.  Bill is black, by the way. The few books that did highlight black people showed them in the 1970s during the roller disco days. That is NOT when black people started skating, and if I had to rely on the information I  found, I would be SOL.

What was worse than those roller skating books were the sports books that did not even acknowledge skating as a sport! What??? This is not looking to good.

When I just Googled roller skating images, there was only one image with black people. This is getting ridiculous.

Do you know what this means? It’s time for me to get busy and make those connections to make sure that our place in roller skating history is known. And to help change the color of those images in Google.

Ok, went through my stash and found a pic with Chocolate People.


Chicago Roller Skaters

Image: Marcie Hill

To anyone reading this post who gets offended, please know that although I am trying to make light of this topic, I am highly perturbed.  Imagine trying to find information relevant to your history only to know that you have been intentionally ignored. Actually, I know black people througout history have been ignored, but this is terrible.


15 Responses to “Where are the Black People In Roller Skating?”

  1. whajacook? April 16, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Funny – that is how I found your blog – looking for images of people of color on skates. sigh.
    A friend is holding a 25 year skating reunion in DC this summer and I was helping her create the blog http://skatereunion.blogspot.com . She’s still tied in with lots of skaters.

    She directed me to http://www.skategroove.com – I guess they don’t tag or worry about SEO, because they have loads of pics that don’t show up in searches. There is also http://www.sk8photos.com/xoops/ out of Georgia.

    I like what you are doing and if you ever decide to write about skaters of color, look me up at 22nd Century Press.

    • Marcie Hill April 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

      Thank you for stopping through and sharing resources. I have reached out to them and intend to utilize their resources in the near future. Please keep me abreast of the skating reunion, I’d like to attend. You are a blessing!

  2. Timothy July 6, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I was also looking for people of color on Google images and luckily I found the pic that you posted! I bookmarked your blog so I can read more of what you have been writing. Thanks for doing what you do.

    • Marcie Hill July 8, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Tim, thank you so much. I am researching black roller skaters for a project and I’ll be sharing information as I find it.

  3. Naji D July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Hello Marcie

    I’m the Chicago African American issues examiner. I just recently wrote an article where a I speak about the historical influence black people had on skating and bike riding. And why I’m surprised that more of us don’t get involved in these sports. Yes skating is a sport!!!(i wholeheartedly agree with you)


    I featured your blog in my article. It’s in a link towards the bottom of the article. I hope you enjoy it. Leave some feed back and tell me what you think.


    Also do you live in Chicago? You mentioned Harold Washington Library. I love going up there when I get some time.
    (sorry if I posted this too many times, I’m not sure if I did it right, never commented on a blog before)

  4. Caroline Mirelli November 7, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    Check it out USAROLLERSPORTS.com I have two of the best skaters on the inline skates and quads they are National champions and well known in the skating world. They skate out of the Southern Region, this year they were voted Skaters of the year. They compete on quads creative solo dance, figures, loops and free style. They are sisters and believe it not twins. The majority of skaters I teach are of color. We also at the National level have Deryrek Jones a wonderful dance skater and a champion. I am the twins coach and most of my skaters are of color. I am Coach Caroline Mirelli of Memmphis, Tn. Come and see us The Memphis Figure Roller skating Club

    • Marcie Hill November 7, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      Caroline, thank you for sharing that information. I will definitely be checking you out soon.

  5. Carlesa Williams August 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi… I found this article while looking up Miss Caroline Mirelli – a lady that I respect and admire), and thought I would get on your list of Blacks in roller sports. There are many more today than when I was a kid, in fact the diversity at our recent 2012 National Championship was amazing.

    Check out my bio at my skating site:
    Or a profile at this ice site:

    I was never a great champion, but I am a good coach and work hard to bring skaters of all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds together in Southeastern Michigan. My team took 23 skaters to nationals and they came from a combination of Black, Asian, Indian, Russian and more of the American mix. This is a long way from the days when I was not allowed in figure skating classes as a kid.

    Anita Armstrong, another Black coach from Chicago, made a bit of history by getting a JB Skater to Nationals in the creative dance event… and even more skaters to transfer skills into other technical events as well.

    Troy Tucker, another brother, will represent the United States at the 2012 World Championship in New Zealand this fall.

    Feel free to write anytime. I love talking Black skating – current or history.

    • Ms. Marcie August 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Carlesa, thanks so much for sharing this information. I’d love to speak with you. I’ll e-mail you so we can schedule a time to speak.

  6. david hinton June 29, 2014 at 7:03 am #

    After reading your article, what’s even more rare is the number of black roller rink managers and their contribution to the business. There is a black family of roller rink managers in Maryland. You may be interested in talking to. Recently, one of them created a STEM program that focuses on the business of roller skating and science,engineering,technology and math.

    • Ms. Marcie July 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

      Actually, the rink owners are on my radar. Thanks for sharing the information about this family with me, David. I’ll check it out.

  7. donichica October 22, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    hi my name is donisha im about to start a skate club up in my city indpls ind i grew up going skating and i like to one day get the youth involed do u have any ideals for me ,

    • Ms. Marcie October 23, 2014 at 4:59 am #

      Hi Donisha, I will email you the name of someone who can better help you.

  8. Bill Pinkney June 25, 2017 at 10:57 am #

    Ms. Marcie, I am 81 years old and was a avid skater in my youth. As a third generation
    Chicagoan I recall skating at Park City Rink on 63rd St. ( The former White City Rink) The Savoy was near my family home on 49th and South Park(King Drive) the Savoy Rink next to the Regal Theater was the spot my parents skated at. In later years a number of small rinks opened and closed. The last remaining spot I believe is called The Rink.

    • Ms. Marcie June 26, 2017 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Mr. Pinkney, thank you for stopping through and sharing your memories. I so appreciate you. What were some of your favorite skate moves? Do you recall any skate instructors? Do you have any pictures?

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