‘Roswell Roots’ celebrates Black History Month with food, education

In February, only in Roswell can you find an exhibit on Negro League baseball, a screening of a documentary on the 1936 Olympics and a celebration of what would have been Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday.

All those events are part of the 17th annual “Roots in Roswell,” a celebration of black history and culture.

The month-long festival features 34 exhibits, events and classes on African American art, history, culture, sports and literature.

Some exhibits began in January, and a few spill over into March, but February is packed with Black History Month events in Roswell.

Here are a few highlights:

“Who’s Home? Roswell
Photographs of Roswell’s historical African American community will be on view throughout the month of February at all three antebellum homes — Barrington Hall (535 Barrington Dr.), Bulloch Hall (180 Bulloch Ave.) and Smith Plantation (935 Alpharetta St.) — courtesy of the Roswell Historical Society Archives. Free, Feb. 1-28; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday

Hannah’s Journey: The Cook’s Quest
Clarissa Clifton, a living history interpreter and cook, will demonstrate how to make traditional Southern Food in a hearth. Clifton will also talk about Southern food’s perceptions, origins and how it trends today. Free, Smith Plantation, 935 Alpharetta St., Feb. 10 at 11 a.m.

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Olympic Pride, American Prejudice
An 81-minute long documentary on the 1936 Olympics, the film features interviews with Carl Lewis, Isiah Thomas, and is narrated by Blair Underwood. The 2016 film focuses on 18 African-American athletes who defied Jim Crow segregation and Nazi racism to win at the Berlin Games. The movie was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. This event doubles as a fundraiser by the Boy Scouts for Zion Missionary Baptist Church and St. James United Methodist Church. A Q&A session with director Deborah Riley Draper and CBS 46 anchor Tracye Hutchins will follow. Tickets range from $5 to $35, Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 888 Zion Circle, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m.

Mike Glenn’s Bicentennial Celebration of Frederick Douglass
Mike Glenn, who played 10 NBA seasons and now works for the Atlanta Hawks, will host a celebration of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Roswell Library and marks what would have been Douglass’ 200th birthday. Free, Roswell Library, 115 Norcross St., Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

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Soul Food Cypher
You may have seen cyphers on BET or MTV. It combines the spoken word and freestyle rap, and now Roswell is getting one. A cypher is gathering of folks that can rhyme and make beats. This cypher will be live and the participants, members of “Soul Food Cypher”, will be split into teams. The audience will participate, too. $5 per person, Red Door Playhouse, 587 Atlanta St., Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

Negro League Sports Memorabilia
The Roswell Library features a glimpse into the past with a collection of sports memorabilia put on display by a local resident. The exhibit shows off the accomplishments of the Negro Baseball League. A brief video accompanies the display. It is sponsored by the Crumley family. Free, Roswell Library, 115 Norcross St., Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.

For a full list of Roswell Roots events, visit the city’s website.

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Happy birthday to the late, great King of Soul, Sam Cooke!

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