Roller Skating Research Findings

18 Mar

roller skates

While researching  roller skating in Chicago, I found a couple articles from the late 1970s and early ’80s  that mentioned black skaters or rinks and then focused on suburban rinks. The writers started the stories talking about recreational skating which was, and still is, done in black rinks, and and then went to competitive speed and dance skating, which was, and still is, void of black people.  There aren’t very many.

I was disappointed when reading most of those articles because it excluded an activity that was clearly a huge part of our culture.  I’m not surprised, though. I spoke with a young lady from Washington, D.C. who said that The Washington Post wrote a story about roller skating in D.C. in the ’80s and did not mention black skating at all in that article. So, I won’t complain too much.

Recently, I had a conversation with a manager of a skating rink who confirmed that skating is a predominantly white sport. I get that. It’s just not cool being ignored like we have never had a place in the industry.  This is why I have to work on my project.

So, if you could help me with my project it would be greatly appreciated.  Following are ways you can help me:

  1. Find interns.
  2. Find people in their 50s  and older for their skate story. While my story is focused on roller skating in Chicago, I’m willing to take the stories of people who skated in other states. That’s just another chapter in roller skating history.
  3. If you are 50 and older who roller skated, share your skate story.
  4. Please share any roller skating articles, photos, advertisements – anything – you run across .

Thank so much for your help.

Image: Kentucky Historical Society


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