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My Roller Skating Book Will Be Ready to Sell by February 2013

18 Jan

While perusing the aisles of Barnes & Noble this past weekend, I was intrigued by ALL the Black History  books they were promoting. I stopped to read  many of the titles and felt a little jolt. I got the feeling that my roller skating book should be on that stand next year; the main attraction on top of the display.

Roller Skating History - Marcie Hill
For this to happen, I will need your prayers for favor, focus, direction and divine connections. A little assistance with researching, interviewing and transcribing would help, too. 🙂 Can I count on your support?


Did You or Do You Roller Skate?

28 Nov

roller skates

I am pleased to announce that my roller skating site, Real Skate Stories, is up and running.

This is not the most exciting roller skating site you will find online. However, it is one of the most interesting – well to me. While all of the other sites provide information and share memories, I am collecting people’s roller skating stories and memories. Allow me to elaborate.

After returning to roller skating in 2008, I started researching roller skating in Chicago and Black roller skating in Chicago and found very little information. Even the The National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, Nebraska didn’t have much on either topic.  I smelled opportunity.

Long story short, to make this opportunity work, I’m going to need the stories, images and anything else people are willing to share. Although my focus is on Chicago and Black roller skating in Chicago right now, stories are welcomed from people all over the world. There is one caveat: I am only interested in the stories of people who used quad skates, not inline or ice skates. If you don’t know what quads are, check out the image above. Ok, those are old, but you get the picture.

And it doesn’t matter how well of a skater you were/are  (or not). If you skated, your story will help me. Wow, I can’t wait to learn of other people’s roller skating memories.  Visit Real Skate Stories to share your story now or share the link with others.

Your Feedback Needed on Roller Skating Site

10 Nov

roller skates2I have finally completed Real Skate Stories, my roller skating site, and would like your feedback on it.It has not been launched yet because I have not received authorizations to use all of the images just yet.

I set up the site to collect stories of roller skaters who skate on quad skates – not ice skates or roller blades – for my project.

It only has four pages: About, Your Skate Service, Terms of Use and Contact. My goal is to keep it simple, even though the questionnaire is rather lengthy.

I wanted to give people options on ways to share their stories: typing or video recording their responses as comments.

Here is the feedback I need:

  1. Is the header image overpowering? I wanted it to reflect all types of skating, but is it too much?
  2. Is the site easy to navigate? I want to make it clear that your stories are important and you can contact me.
  3. Did you find any spelling or grammar errors? I need an additional set of eyes.
  4. Would an image be more impactful on the About page.
  5. Any suggestions or recommendations?

After visiting Real Skate Stories, please leave your comments below. Thank you for your support.

Quick Update: Roller Skating Site Not Ready

3 Nov


Hi All!

Just wanted to let you know that my roller skating site is not ready :(. Not because of my slacking…this time. I’m waiting for approval to use someone’s image. Hopefully, they’ll respond soon.


Black People in Chicago Were Not Always Allowed to Roller Skate Indoors

2 Sep

Roller skating at the Savoy Ballroom - Jazz Age Chicago

In fact, Black people were first allowed to roller skate indoors at the Savoy Ballroom in Chicago’s Bronzeville community on December 8, 1938 thanks to Jimmie Davis, the manager of The Savoy at that time.

I don’t have the newspaper articles back this up because the microfilm machines were down at the Vivian Harsh Research Collection center at Carter G. Woodson Library. I will share as soon as I am able to get copies.


Image: Jazz Age Chicago

Do You or Did You Roller Skate? Your Skate Story is Needed

2 Aug

roller skates2

I am researching ROLLER SKATING (not inline or ice skating) for a book I am writing, and your story is needed. I don’t care how much or how little you skated, your story is important to me.  Right now, I’m working on a site where you can submit your story.  Until it is complete, please share the following information in the comment section below OR cut and paste the questions and send your responses to

Feel free to call me at (312) 890-2261 if you have any questions or want to speak to me personally. I’ll need a couple days to return your call, but I’ll be sure to get back to you.  Also, be sure to say that you are calling about roller skating.

Note: You don’t have enter all of this information, but any memories you have will be greatly appreciated.

  1. Your name and e-mail
  2. Your age group (example: 20 – 29, 30 – 39, 40 – 49, 50 – 59, 60 – 69, 70 – 79, 80 – 89, 90+)
  3. In which cities and states did you roller skate?
  4. At which rinks did you roller skate?
  5. During which years did you roller skate?
  6. What type of outfits did you wear?
  7. Why did you roller skate? For fun, to catch a guy/girl, that was the only activity in the community, etc.
  8. Did you have any skate partners? What were their names?
  9. Who were some of the better skaters you can remember?
  10. Did you enter any competitions?
  11. What type of skating did you do? Freestyle, session, dances, JB, derby, roller hockey
  12. Where did you buy your roller skates?
  13. What were some of the skate clubs? Were you a member?
  14. Who were some of the organists or DJs at the rinks you frequented?
  15. Did you have any tales of racism in skating? That you experienced or witnessed personally
  16. What are some of your favorite skate memories?
  17. Do you have photos I can use?

Thank you for sharing your information.  You are greatly appreciated.

Image: gig harbor 365

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