Legends of Skating – Part 1

As different forms of roller skating become popular in various parts of the country, it’s important to acknowledge and honor it’s cultural origins and the unsung pioneers that have given roller skating it’s modern flavor and style.

Bill Butler – Video Bio
If you’ve ever seen these images pop up on the internet, please know that this is NO ordinary “ol skool” skater. When people were rolling to organ music in the 40’s, Bill Butler is the man that brought the funk and jazz to skating in Detroit and then most famously in New York. His artistry, skill and style inspired many of the popular incarnations of roller skating that exist today.

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David Miles Jr.www.churchof8wheels.com
While rinks are closing down across America, San Francisco’s Godfather of Skate, David Miles Jr. finds new ways to bring skating to the people. Whether indoors or outdoors, David has worked tirelessly with local community leaders for over 30 years to make sure skaters have a place to skate and a funky good time doing it!

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Richard Humphreywww.rollerdance.com
Known as the “Father of Roller Dance.” Richard is a renowned instructor, performer and inventor, featured on TV and in print. Richard choreographed many of the classic line dance steps that are still popular today. He has also partnered with Riedell to create the innovative “No Strings Attached” skate boot. He continues to teach weekly classes in San Francisco.

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Joi Stafford – Skate-a-Thon
2015 marks the 20th anniversary of Skate-a-thon in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s the largest annual skate party in the country and perhaps the world. Joi and her team work tirelessly each year to throw this amazing 3 day event.

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DJ “Big Bob” Clayton – New York City’s Legendary Roller Disco DJ
Empire Roller Skating Center, Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

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There will be more to come! Please leave a comment if you know of someone with significant historical influence and contribution to the development and growth of roller skating!

Black History is Skate History

Throughout the twentieth century, African Americans challenged segregation at amusement parks, swimming pools, and skating rinks not only in pursuit of pleasure but as part of a wider struggle for racial equality.  I wanted to share a few snapshots in time related to roller skating and black history to foster an understanding of the deep, rich history of this activity and some of its pioneers.

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Here’s a wonderful video piece that touches on skate history from the folks at http://www.itsmyskatenight.com

Enjoy.