Telegram - Serving Metropolitan Detroit Since 1944

By Janine Folks
Contributing Columnist 

Community Staple Celebrates 67 Years: RollerCade Detroit

 

February 10, 2022

Skaters came out to show some of their skating skills to the community

Last weekend, RollerCade Detroit celebrated 67 years of being in business. Local skaters from the Tri-City area, skaters from greater metro Detroit, downriver, western wayne county and skaters from as far away as Flint, MI came out to celebrate the monumental occasion. The capacity crowd enjoyed the vibes Rollercade has become known for: The music, sound system, the lights, the people, the moves, the love. This event brought the skaters out.

There were Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and even Gen Z all skating together, merging their styles, the old plus the new. The diversity was amazing and the energy was electric. Nostalgia linked up with modern day and many of the seasoned skaters got the opportunity to demonstrate that you don't stop skating because you're old, you only get old when you stop skating.

The roller rink opened its doors to skaters on January 9, 1955. The objective was to provide access to roller skating for children in the neighborhoods of River Rouge, Ecorse and Southwest Detroit (48218, 48229, 48217). This was during the onset of the Civil Rights Era and there were not too many places where children of color could skate freely.

The geographical connection between the 3 cities was referred to as Tri-City. To reflect who they represent, Rink founders, Johnnie Mae and Leroy Folks, called the rink's skating club "Tri-City Skate Club."

At the recent celebration, great memories were created and left skating longing for the next time they can replicate the experience. The 2020 pandemic sparked a resurgence of excitement about roller skating. There were many new faces of new skaters who got a chance to see how it was done back in the day. Being introduced to the rich history, black history, of Rollercade has been enlightening and skaters are even more motivated to hone their skills. More people want to learn.

The successful event rides on the heels of a successful summer where the first of its kind, a joint operation partnering with a major company to bring an outdoor roller skating rink to Detroit, MI. The activation brought people from near and far (local, national, international) to witness the magic on Monroe Street with RolloutDetroit! The RollerCade flavor was introduced to the globe, placed on a world stage with massive media coverage by the likes of Fast Company, Black Enterprise, Travel Noire, local news networks and numerous social media news platforms (electronic and print).

The venture brought all kinds of people and skaters together. RollerCade continues to ride the wave of success as it rolls into its 67 year, picking up more and more momentum. RollerCade is managed by Kyle Black with Earl Folks, Sr. as a consultant. Skate lessons are available on Wednesdays at 7pm for adults and Saturdays at noon for all ages. Go to http://www.rollercadedetroit.com for the full schedule.

 

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