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.
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:
- Find interns.
- 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.
- If you are 50 and older who roller skated, share your skate story.
- Please share any roller skating articles, photos, advertisements – anything – you run across .
Thank so much for your help.
Image: Kentucky Historical Society
Rich City Skate - The Alexander Family
Rich City Skate, located at 4648 Sauk Trail in Richton Park, Illinois, is known for its upscale environment, JB skating, and top notch skating floor. Several skaters have attested to them having the best skating floor in the Chicagoland area.
Owned and managed by the Alexander family, the rink is a dream come true – literally and figuratively. Randy Alexander told me that his wife, Debbie, dreamed of owning a skating rink. After three years of planning and preparation, Rich City became a reality in May 2006.
While ownership is the greatest reward for the family, being able to help the Black community by giving them a place to go and call home is another. African Americans currently make up 72 to 74% of the city’s population. Other rewards include saving lives of young people; giving to instead of taking away from the community; and seeing third and fourth generations of skaters in individual families.
Stop by Rich City Skate and experience the upscale environment, JB skating, and top notch skating floor. Visit http://richcityskate.com or call 708.748.7550 for more information about Rich City.