Roswell Roots Rundown

Banners+like+these+are+put+up+on+Canton+Street+and+throughout+the+City+of+Roswell+to+promote+the+festival.+Photo+credit%3A+Alli+Wiggins

Banners like these are put up on Canton Street and throughout the City of Roswell to promote the festival. Photo credit: Alli Wiggins

Alexandra Wiggins

African American culture has shaped the world we know today. Because of this, it is important to educate ourselves on their history and presence. The Roswell Roots festival is used to promote the history of Black people over the course of Black History Month. This festival began on January 25 and will continue until February 28, 2021. 

Colorful advertisement at the Roswell city square. Photo credit: Alli Wiggins

The Roswell Roots festival won a gold award for the “Best Cultural Event” at the 2014 Kaleidoscope Awards. Within the festival, there are different variations of activities and categories to learn from that will be held throughout the city of Roswell. Places like Roswell City Hall and the Roswell Cultural Arts Center will hold some activities. These categories include art, education, entertainment (singing, dancing, and music), local history, speaker series (speakers such as Birdel Jackson and Dr. J. Drew Lanham), and just about the festival itself. The festival is organized by a committee of workers who are involved with assisting the performances and exhibitions. Within the education category, people will teach others about painting, cultural music, and inventions made by our fellow Roswell companions. Lynley Blocker (11) mentions, “The most interesting form of entertainment, in my opinion, is art, but I think education is the most effective way to teach people about the Black culture.” Gatherings about Roswell’s local history with African Americans will also be included. From storytelling to empowering speeches, the 2021 Roswell Roots festival will not fail to inspire people to learn about the African American past and even the present. 

 

This year marks the 19th annual Roswell Roots festival. Even with the coronavirus, nothing will stop the celebration of our diverse communities in Roswell. However, precautions must be taken due to the virus. The organization has taken into consideration what they will have to do to keep all of the participants safe when celebrating and learning. Masks will be required at all face to face events. Regulations will be enforced for people to stay six feet apart, temperature checks will also be required at the beginning of every event. Most importantly though, the Roswell Roots committee has made this year’s celebration accessible to all. If citizens are not comfortable with going to in-person entertainment, there will be plenty of virtual options available. A lot of the speakers have provided their speeches to be virtual via zoom, with registration still required. Many also have the option to Livestream it from certain websites as well. There are online websites where viewers can shop a wide variety of products made by local Black citizens. 

 

After the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, all cultures should take time to inform themselves of the Black culture. For years, Black people have been overlooked and due to troubling times in the United States this past summer, situations arose and caused injustice. There have been different forms of education and celebration for diversity, but nothing like today. With the protests and injustices, it should be a sign to learn about others and how they have had to adapt to society so many times. Caroline Hoban (9) speaks on this, “Today especially it is important for us to learn about African American cultures because of how they are being treated here in the United States. I recently read Things Fall Apart and I was glad I got to learn about the culture in Nigeria in the 1890s.” There are other ways to identify the past and historic moments of African Americans other than the Roswell Roots festival. Books have been published, empowering speakers have been introduced, and most importantly, influential, peaceful protests have been held to brighten a movement that had to be brightened for decades. Julia Haley (12) mentions, “On MLK Day, I read ‘Letters from a Birmingham Jail’ which was really interesting and insightful into the Civil Rights movement.” All cultures and skin colors were allowed at many of these protests to show a movement like never before. Citizens in the Roswell community can continue this movement by participating in the Roswell Roots Festival and other celebrations throughout Black History Month. 

For more information on the festival and registration for events and gatherings click here

You can also visit this website for more Roswell news and information about upcoming Roswell Roots events. This article by the AJC also considers information about the festival and its past!