Welcome to the City of Roswell Georgia
print pagehome
Welcome to the City of Roswell Georgia

Go To Search
Follow us onFacebookTwitterYouTubeNixle
Roswell Roots 2015

Roswell Roots
  Roswell Roots Logo
A Festival of Black History and Culture

February 1-28, 2015

Come join us as we celebrate Roswell's African American history and culture throughout the month of February with a series of unique and fun events for everyone. Roswell's Roots Festival is one of the largest and most comprehensive celebrations in the state of Georgia. Share in our rich history and contemporary culture and discover something exciting about Roswell you didn't know before!

Quick Links

               Month-Long Exhibits
February 1-28, 2015
By Skilled Hands
Skilled HandsBarrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive
Tickets: Free with regular tour admission
Information: 770-640-3855

An exhibit of objects from our permanent collection made by enslaved artisans. On exhibit is a large pottery jar made in Edgefield District South Carolina that was both thrown and decorated by an enslaved craftsman. Also included is a pair of marbles known to have been made here at Barrington Hall. Other objects include a topsy-turvy doll and a large linen press.
Before Teflon… The Challenge of Cast Iron Cookery!
Before TeflonBulloch Hall, 180 Bulloch Avenue
Tickets: Free with regular tour admission
Information: 770-992-1731

If these pots could talk, what stories they could tell! This creative exhibit of cast iron pots and implements will explain what they are, what they were used for, and their history. They are tough, sturdy and cook the best food. No pot could ever replace them!
Slave Life in the Piedmont
Slave Life in the PiedmontBulloch Hall, 180 Bulloch Avenue
Tickets: Free with regular tour admission
Information: 770-992-1731

The 1839 Service Yard with outbuildings at Bulloch Hall has been reconstructed. One cabin has a permanent exhibit on "Slave Life in the Piedmont." The exhibit has recently been extended to include the known post war story of former slaves Daddy William and Maum Grace..
Unsung Heroes: The Legacy of Black Heritage in Roswell, Georgia
Unsung HeroesCity Hall Rotunda, 38 Hill Street
Tickets: Free
Information: 770-641-3705

This exhibit, co-sponsored by the City of Roswell and the Roswell Historical Society, returns to the Rotunda. It highlights the history of African Americans in the Roswell area and their influence and impact on our community since 1839. This rich story is told through the use of photographs, artifacts and textiles.
Artwork by Shellton Labron

Shellton LabronRoswell Cultural Arts Center
950 Forrest Street
Tickets: Free
Information: www.roswellcac.com
or 770-594-6232

A conceptual and abstract artist who utilizes all mediums, Shellton Labron explores innovative methods of delivering intriguing pallets of expression that are energetic and colorful. Labron's signature work is abstract music motifs. There will be an Opening Reception on Monday, February 2 from 6-8pm.

Artwork by Sharon Crumley
Sharon CrumleySmith Plantation Barn, 935 Alpharetta Street
Tickets: Free
Information: 678-639-7500

Sharon Crumley, a resident of Roswell, is a self-taught artist who creates mixed media art. Crumley's work is intricate, colorful and textural, using a combination of textiles, paper, paint and found elements to create multi-dimensional art. Her art expresses a variety of subjects from modern abstractions and ethnic adaptations to feminine themes. There will be an Opening Reception on Friday, February 6, from 5-7pm.
Slave Cabin Exhibit: A New Story
Slave CabinSmith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta Street
Tickets: Free
Information: 678-639-7500

After stabilization efforts, people will be able to enter the slave cabin for the first time to really experience the atmosphere. This modest but interesting structure is believed to be the oldest at the Smith Plantation home site. The exhibit will look at the various aspects of a slave's life – including work, food and everyday tasks. Period artifacts from the Smith Plantation collection will be on display.
               Schedule of Events   
Monday • 01.26 • 7pm • Free
Roswell Roots: Festival of Black History & Culture Proclamation
Roswell City Council Meeting
City Hall, 38 Hill Street, Council Chambers
Information: 770-641-3705
Sunday • 02.01 • 2:30pm • $5, $10, $15
Groveway Community Group Presents "History in the Making"
Tequila WilkesRoswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street
Tickets: $10 Advance, $15 at the door, $5 children 12 & under
Information & Tickets: 770-993-4245

The Groveway Players present their very first production of "History in the Making." A stage play based on the African American history here in the Groveway Community. The production will feature singing, acting and dance pieces from local Roswell talent. Stage play is adapted from archived records of Groveway Community Group, Inc. The stage play is written and directed by Groveway's own Tequila Wilkes. Vendors will also be available.
Monday • 02.02 • 6-8pm • Free
Opening Reception for Shellton Labron Art Exhibit
Shellton Labron ReceptionRoswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street
Information: www.roswellcac.com or 770-594-6232

Join us for an opening reception for the Roswell Cultural Arts Center's Spotlight Artist: Shellton Labron. A conceptual and abstract artist who utilizes all mediums, Shellton Labron explores innovative methods of delivering intriguing pallets of expression that are energetic and colorful. Labron's signature work is abstract music motifs.
Wednesday • 02.04 • Doors open at 6pm • Lecture at 7pm
$5 per person
"Slavery by Another Name" presented by Don Rooney, Director of Exhibitions at the Atlanta History Center
Don RooneyBarrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive
Tickets: $5 at the door
Information and reservations: 770-640-3855

Don Rooney will speak about the new exhibit the Atlanta History Center has displayed at the Margaret Mitchell House, Slavery by Another Name: Paintings and Assemblages by Robert Claiborne Morris. Slavery by Another Name is a mixed media art exhibition inspired by the Pulitzer-Prize winning book by Douglas A. Blackmon. Morris began to re-examine his understanding of race in America after reading an early proof of Blackmon’s book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, which explores the little-known practice of leasing African American convicts to private individuals and corporations – a practice that continued in some Southern states until after World War II. Incorporated in Morris’ works are portraits, maps of the slave mines, courageous articles and images published by the Atlanta Constitution, blood money, letters to the Department of Justice pleading for mercy, and implements of bondage and torture ranging from words to ropes, locks, and chains. From a portrait of President Lincoln that incorporates burlap and the tin from the roof of an abandoned sharecropper's shack, to shackles from a slave vessel that sway before the figure of an anonymous worker, this collection of art has helped bring to light this little-explored and less-understood chapter in American history.
Wednesday • 02.04 • 7-9pm • Free
"Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People" Screening & Discussion with Sheila Pree Bright
Through the Lens DarklyAurora Cineplex • 5100 Commerce Pkwy
Tickets: Free, check-in for required wristband
Note: For mature audiences (nudity, graphic images)
Information: 770-641-3705 or 770-518-0977 (Aurora)

Inspired by Deborah Willis's book, "Reflections in Black," "Through a Lens Darkly" casts a broad net that begins with filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris's family album. The film embraces both historical material and contemporary images made by such luminaries as Roy DeCarava, Gordon Parks, and Carrie Mae Weems. The New York Times' David Gonzalez states, "A sweeping narrative that traces from the 19th century to the 21st how African-Americans presented themselves in their own photos." Following the film
there will be a discussion with renowned Atlanta photographer, Sheila Pree Bright, who appears briefly in the film.
Friday • 02.06 • 5-7pm • Free
Opening Reception for Sharon Crumley Exhibit
Sharon Crumley ReceptionSmith Plantation Barn, 935 Alpharetta Street
Information: 678-639-7500

Join us for an opening reception for the Sharon Crumley exhibit on display at the Smith Plantation Barn throughout the month. Sharon Crumley, a resident of Roswell, is a self-taught artist who creates mixed media art. Crumley's work is intricate, colorful and textural using a combination of textiles, paper, paint and found elements to create multi-dimensional art. Her art expresses a variety of subjects from modern abstractions and ethnic adaptations to feminine themes.
Friday • 02.06 • 7-10pm • $5
Bid Whist Card Party
Bid Whist Card PartyEast Roswell Park Recreation Center, 9000 Fouts Road
Tickets: $5, must be purchased in advance due to limited seating
Information & Tickets: 314-520-4775

The Kings & Queens Chapter of the American Bridge Association (ABA) is proud to be sponsoring the first Roswell Roots Bid Whist Card Party. The ABA was founded in 1932 as an outlet for African Americans to play organized bridge at a time when they were not allowed to play in the mainstream bridge league. Anderson Williams Ph.D., professor at Morehouse College, will give a brief history of the ABA and the importance of various card games in African American culture followed by a bid whist game. There will also be lessons for those interested as well as refreshments and door prizes.
Saturday • 02.07 • 2-5pm • Free
Are you smarter than The Griot?
GriotRoswell Branch Library, a part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
115 Norcross Street
Information: 770-640-3075

Who knows as much as the griot, the history keeper? Come and share! All ages are welcome to test their knowledge of black history in this Q & A competition. We will see who can answer more questions than a traditional African griot, who was tasked with keeping the oral history of the village. Prizes will be awarded.
Saturday • 02.07 • 8pm • $35
LIVE! in Roswell presents Ruthie Foster
Ruthie FosterRoswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street
Information & Tickets: www.roswellcac.com or 770-594-62325

Presented by the LIVE! in Roswell series, two-time Grammy nominee Ruthie Foster brings her blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel to Roswell. She's worked with The Blind Boys of Alabama and has been compared to Bonnie Raitt, Billie Holiday, and Aretha Franklin. With a strong, clear and impossibly soulful voice, Foster excels at richly textured music painted in blues. She's received five trophies from the Blues Music Awards, including the coveted Koko Taylor Award for Female Artist of the Year (twice).
Monday • 02.09 • 7-9pm • $10
Story SLAM: "Lovers & Haters"
StorySLAMRoswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street
Tickets: $10
($5 off with donation of a book for youth readers)
Information: 770-594-62325

A monthly competitive storytelling series with a different theme each month. Each event offers 10 lucky storytellers the opportunity to dazzle us with their truths in five minutes or less. With the theme of "Lovers & Haters," there should be some great ones! Join us for this intimate and inspiring experience.
Wednesday • 02.11 • Doors open at 6pm • Lecture at 7pm
$5 per person
"Doctoring the African Slave" presented by Paulette Snoby
Paulette SnobyRoswell Barrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive
Tickets: $5 at the door
Information and reservations: 770-640-3855

Paulette Snoby is a registered nurse, born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. She graduated from University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and GISPIA. She resides in Roswell, Georgia. Paulette is a member of the Society of Civil War Surgeons, Museum of the Confederacy, National Civil War Medical Museum, and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Ms. Snoby has written a book entitled April's Revolution: A Modern Perspective of American Medical Care of Civil War Soldiers and African Slaves.
Thursday • 02.12 • 7-9pm • Free
Speaker and Panel Discussion: "Black Love and the Black Family" featuring Dr. Aaron Turpeau
Black FamilyRoswell Cultural Arts Center, 950 Forrest Street
Information: 770-641-3705

African-American culture places heavy emphasis on family connectedness, yet data shows that African-Americans are significantly less likely than other American racial groups to ever marry. Why is this and what can be done about it? The speaker/moderator of this event will be Dr. Aaron Turpeau, the celebrated relationship coach and author of the ESSENCE best-seller, "The Harmonious Way: Find Love and Marriage by Playing Your True Note." Along with a panel of Atlanta-area academics and professionals, Dr. Turpeau will explore the state of the black family unit and black love relationships, including the impacts of popular culture, disproportionately high incarceration rates, and socioeconomic trends like out-of-wedlock births, and the college graduation rate gap between African-American women and men. The last 30 minutes will be for Q & A and a time for attendees to mingle with the speaker and panel participants in the lobby.
Saturday • 02.14 • 2pm • Free
"Growing Up... In Words and Images" with NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll
Growing Up In Words and ImagesRoswell Branch Library, a part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
115 Norcross Street
Information: 770-640-3075

"Growing Up… In Words and Images" is a different kind of memoir, and Joe Barry Carroll is a different kind of jock. From an unsure little boy, Carroll grew to be a seven-foot-tall overall first-round draft pick, NBA All-Star, wealth advisor, philanthropist, artist and author; a man who refuses to stop growing and isn't afraid to be different. Carroll pairs 70 of his expressionistic paintings with poignant narratives to tell an American story that will make you squirm, laugh, cry and reminisce.
Saturday • 02.14 • 1-3pm • Free
Breaking Down Barriers Around the Table: Pound Cake Cook-Off and Southern Foodways Alliance Films
Pound CakeEast Roswell Park Recreation Center, 9000 Fouts Road
Information: 770-641-3705

The City of Roswell will be hosting the first Pound Cake Cook-Off. During the Cook-Off, we'll screen two short films on the desegregation of restaurants during the civil rights movement. The juxtaposition of these events will examine the role food can play in breaking down social barriers. There will be both a professional and amateur category for Pound Cake entries with prizes in each category. Attendees will get to sample pound cake and vote for their favorite. The films, produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance, will run throughout the event.
Tuesday • 02.17 • 4pm • Free
Experience Africa through the Art of Storytelling
StorytellingRoswell Branch Library, a part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
115 Norcross Street
Information: 770-640-3075

In the spirit of celebrating Roswell Roots, Vanessa Slaton, storytelling artist, will present a total experience of Africa with folktales, music, costume and artifacts.
Wednesday • 02.18 • 7pm • Free
High John the Conqueror and African Folktales with Rob Cleveland
Rob ClevelandTeaching Museum North, a part of Fulton County
Board of Education, 793 Mimosa Boulevard
Information: 770-641-3705

Master storyteller Rob Cleveland delivers tales of the spirited escapades of High John the Conqueror, one of America's first folk heroes, along with those of other trickster characters. Infused with mystery and excitement, this thrilling collection of folktales uses history, humor, and even song to bring the audience, through the eyes of High John the Conqueror, on a journey beginning in Africa, though the Middle Passage and finally ending in America. Recommended for 3rd grade to 8th grade students.
Thursday • 02.19 • 7pm • Free
"Slammin' in the Suburbs" Roswell Poetry Slam
Poetry SlamRoswell Historic Cottage, 972 Alpharetta Street (at Norcross Street)
Participant Sign-Up: 6-7pm
Slam Competition Begins: 7pm
Information: 770-641-3705

For an evening of exciting and inspiring entertainment, join us for "Slammin' in the Suburbs." This is Roswell's 11th annual poetry slam during which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience on content and performance. The invitational round of competition amongst some of the region's best spoken word artists features a $1,000 cash 1st place prize. The host is once again awardwinning spoken artist, Ayodele Heath. For details on the rules and how to participate, visit www.roswellroots.com/poetryslam.
Saturday • 02.21 • 2:30-4:30pm • Free
Talk with the Author of "First Top Gun," Dr. Zellie Rainey Orr
Dr Zellie Rainey OrrRoswell Branch Library, a part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
115 Norcross Street
Information: 770-640-3075

Dr. Zellie Rainey Orr is renowned researcher, historian consultant and author. Dr. Orr continues her effort to note the contributions of those unsung heroes in her latest book, "First Top Guns." Come for this lively presentation on blacks in WWII aviation history with a special focus on the Tuskegee Airmen of Georgia - who they were and why were they commemorated.
Saturday • 02.21 • 11am-3pm • Free
West African Rhythms and Flavors
West African RhythmsBarrington Hall, 535 Barrington Drive
Sallie Ann Robinson in the kitchen 11am–3pm
DrumRise on the lawn 11am–1:30pm
Information: www.southerntrilogy.com or 770-640-3855

It's a day devoted to the food and music of West Africa. Join chef and author Sallie Ann Robinson in the kitchen of Barrington Hall as she shares stories and prepares her famous coastal specialties. Her tales of growing up in the Gullah culture of Daufuskie Island, SC, are a glimpse into a vanishing way of life. On the front lawn of the property, captivating sounds will reverberate across the yard as the founders of DrumRise demonstrate the techniques they learned from Guinean master drummer Mamady Keita. After a brief lesson, stay and join in the drum circle. You'll discover that you can learn to drum, even if you've never touched a musical instrument before! It's a day guaranteed to stimulate your senses!
Saturday • 02.21 • 10am-3pm • Free
Open Hearth Cooking & Living History with Clarissa Clifton
Smith Open Hearth CookingSmith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta Street
Information: 770-641-3978

Living history interpreter and open hearth cooking expert Clarissa Clifton will demonstrate making traditional southern food in the cook house hearth on the historic grounds of Smith Plantation. Using an open flame, Clifton will show the versatility of old cooking methods, trade recipes and reveal the tricks of the trade.
Sunday • 02.22 • 3pm • $5 at door
KUUMBA Storytellers of Georgia present Historic Portraits
KuumbaRoswell Visitors Center, 617 Atlanta Street

Costumed KUUMBA Storytellers of Georgia portray known and not-so-well-known African Americans. Past characters have included Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Mamie "Peanut" Johnson, Jackie "Moms" Mabley, Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, Nora Nell Thurston, Michelle Obama, Mary McLeod Bethune, stagecoach Mary, Nina Simone, Ernestine Anderson and Mom Bett, the great-grandmother of W.E.B. DuBois. You never know who you might meet. Recommended for ages 6 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Thursday • 02.26 • 3-5pm • Free
Uncovering African-American Roots: A Personal Journey with Eleanor Shelton
Uncovering RootsRoswell Branch Library, a part of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System
115 Norcross Street
Information: 770-640-3075

Be inspired to celebrate your family history and leave a legacy for future generations. Eleanor Shelton is a genealogist who began her genealogical journey over 25 years ago while project director for the Black Catholic History Project at the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. She is currently completing a book entitled "Cross Roads: A Historical Genealogy of the Cross Family, 1750-1950."
Saturday • 02.28 • 10am-2pm • $20
Open Hearth Cooking Class: Roswell’s Culinary Roots
Open Hearth CookingSmith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta Street
Information and RSVP: 770-641-3978 or

Over the last year, Living History Interpreter and Open Hearth Cooking Expert, Clarissa Clifton, has become a regular at Smith Plantation demonstrating how open hearth cooking was done and how much flavor this method of cooking added to the food. Ms. Clifton is now excited to be able to share her experience with you in a class that will teach you how to do this type of cooking yourself. The class menu will be based on traditional slave meals to highlight the food and culture of antebellum Roswell: beef stew, hoe cakes, greens, fried sweet potato pies, and warm mulled cider. Ms. Clifton has written numerous articles on her craft and published a cookbook called, "One Hearth, One Pot: For Love of Food and History."
Saturday • 02.28 • 12-2pm • Free
19th Century Open Hearth Cooking Demonstration
Open Hearth CookingBulloch Hall, 130 Bulloch Avenue
Information: 770-992-1731

In a two-hour demonstration which ranges from grilling fish on a plank to cooking a pumpkin on the hearth, you will see unique techniques that our great-great grandparents used to fix their daily meals. Corn bread and apple cider will be served and recipes will be available. This demonstration will be held in the reconstructed slave cabin.
Saturday • 02.28 • 4pm • Free
Unity Concert featuring a Morehouse College Glee Club Quartet
Unity ConcertZion Missionary Baptist Church, 888 Zion Circle
Concert: 4-6:30pm
Reception: 6:30-7pm
Information: 770-641-3705

Join us for one of the most exciting events of the festival! Come hear the magnificent voices of choirs from several area churches, including Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, as they perform their favorite selections. Also, you won't want to miss our featured guests, a Morehouse College Glee Club Quartet. Plus there will be a presentation of our Hometown Hero Award. www.roswellgov.com/hometownheroes
               Scout Patch    
Scout Patch for Roswell Roots
Scout PatchA limited edition 2015 Roswell Roots scout patch will be available Free to any scout that earns the patch by attending one of the Roswell Roots events listed here. The scout may attend by themselves or with their troop or den. Because there are a limited number of patches available, please contact Sheila Sillitto at 770-594-6199 or if you plan to attend with your scout or scouts so that the correct number of patches can be reserved for you to pick-up at the event. Patches will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

In addition to receiving the limited edition 2015 Roswell Roots patch for a fun and informative outing, many of the programs complement the scout requirements at all levels. Check your requirements for music, art, community involvement, historic landmarks, history lessons, theatre, or competitions and you may be able to fulfill a requirement as well!
               Hometown Heros    
African American Hometown Heroes
Each year at the Unity Concert the Roswell Roots Steering Committee recognizes one African American as our Hometown Hero. Citizens are asked to nominate someone that is a personal hero or mentor in the African American community. The nominee should have significantly contributed to the Roswell community in some meaningful way (not necessarily a Roswell resident) or are a Roswell resident who has made a significant impact on people's lives wherever they live. An individual may only receive the award one time during their life. Nominations may be made online at www.roswellgov.com/hometownheroes.
               Sponsors and Partners  
Roswell Roots 2015 Sponsors and Partners
Many thanks to the 2015 sponsors and partners that make Roswell Roots possible:
  • Aurora Cineplex
  • Groveway Community Group
  • Kings & Queens Bridge Club
  • Lee Walker
  • Roswell Arts Renaissance
  • Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Roswell Historic Cottage
  • Roswell Historical Society
  • Roswell Library
  • Southern Foodways Alliance
  • Teaching Museum North
  • Zion Missionary Baptist Church.

38 Hill Street, Roswell, GA 30075, 770-641-3727