The Civil Rights Era Roots of Roller Skating

The Civil Rights Era Roots of Roller Skating


– [Narrator] How would I describe the vibe of Cascade on a Sunday night? You would see 500, 800,
1,000 people in the facility. You have this culture
that has been created, and it’s just growing out of control. And you don’t really experience that anywhere else but here. (upbeat music leading into choral singing) – [Second Narrator]
When desegregation began in the late ’50s and early ’60s, some roller rink owners
did not take kindly to it. They decided to create themed nights specifically targeted
towards African-Americans. If Black roller skaters made
an appearance on other days of the week, they found
themselves unwelcome. But those nights ended up turning into something all of their own. – I didn’t realize the impact that a roller skating
rink has on a community. They would just open up a skating rink, and, boy, people came,
and it was always crowded. So all of those things came together to really blow roller skating up. Here is what so many people gravitate to. And I didn’t realize until
I actually built Cascade. (upbeat music) – I don’t know where I would
be without roller skating. It saved me. So Sunday nights at Cascade is amazing because of the energy. We come, you got your crews, you got your single skaters, you got your couples, and it’s time to show out. It’s the real Atlanta culture. And you can kinda see the
style that Atlanta does. We call it riding in Atlanta, it’s just a really cool, like, you ride the beat and they go fast, so we wear the low Carerra
skates with the big speed wheels, and you see the guys doing the routines and there are a couple of original groups that still skate, and that
got the style started. The roller skating culture is
like an underground family. We have a Facebook, we have a skatebook. It’s kind of addictive,
it’s our drug of choice, and it’s a nonstop party on wheels, so that’s kind of how
I fell in love with it. – Even on a Sunday night, we have people that will tell you
they’ve been skating here since they was eight years old. It’s kinda like the mom, the dad, the teenager, the little brother, and they all are skating. It’s just a lifestyle
that when you come here, you get the energy of all
different types of people, all different types of walk, but when they come here, they’re skaters. So all those things kind of bundle up into this building that makes this place, to me, what the community would miss if this skating rink wasn’t here. That’s why it’s been here for
so long, it’s still thriving. You make it about the community, everything else just
kind of falls into place. (upbeat music resolves)

32 thoughts on “The Civil Rights Era Roots of Roller Skating

  1. This made me tear up to watch, I miss skating every day. I need to go out tomorrow and just buy a pair and do it. Such a wonderful feeling to glide <3

  2. I lived in a smallish community in Texas and all the teenagers, including myself, speant every Saturday night at our local rink. It was the best. Nostalgia man.

  3. Googled if Rollerskating is coming back. Found this video. I gotta get back out there. I'm moving to Atlanta soon and I gotta be on point.

  4. This video just makes me feel PROUD. The ability to create a beautiful atmosphere out of segregation PROVES That no matter what… We'll find a way.

  5. Im so happy to see such a positive vibe, It gives them something to do instead of drugs or hanging out on the streets.

  6. We used to get all dolled up to go to the rink. Met a few boyfriends there and of course, perfected my staking. The best times!

  7. Everything is about race for black American ppl.
    Move on black American ppl, nobody cares about race no more, its all in your heads.

  8. Me: “Cool Video.”

    Russian Bots: “F*ck Blacks”
    Random Suburban 12 Year Old: “F*ck Blacks.”
    Racist Internet Troll Right-Winger: “F*ck Blacks.”

  9. For me I always thought Roll Bounce and the concept of it was just a movie idea I didn't know people was doing that in real life

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