The History Project: 40 Milestones

Dear ROOTers,

We are taking the opportunity of this 40th anniversary to think deeply about ROOTS’ history, and are working on several initiatives that engage ROOTers in telling the story of ROOTS.

One of these initiatives is The History Project, an interactive web-based platform that allows us to identify key milestones in the organization’s history and populate them with archival materials – photos, video, audio stories, and more – that flesh out that particular moment in time. Our goal is to introduce The History Project to you all at ROOTS Week.

To begin this project, we’ve compiled the following list of organizational milestones, and would like your input on them. (Big shout out to Ashley Sparks who has been doing much of this digging/gathering!)

Of this list of milestones, which ones are most important to you, the most vital to the telling of ROOTS’ story? What other moments should be on this list? Which ones could you live without?

Please take a few minutes to read through the list and share your feedback. Thank you!

  1. September 1976: The Call, first meeting at Highlander
  2. 1976/77: New Year’s Eve Sharing Conference, Florida Studio Theater
  3. August 1977: Formally incorporated
  4. 1978: Performance Festival in Nashville
  5. August 1979: Annual Meeting at Camp Blackmore, Dungannon, VA
  6. 1980: ROOTS Festival, Eckerd College
  7. 1981: Ruby Lerner begins as Executive Director
  8. August 1981: 5th Annual Meeting, Camp Ozone, TN
  9. 1984: Annual Meeting, YMCA Camp Younts in Waco
  10. 1985: Little Black Sambo moment
  11. 1985: Josephine Grant begins as Executive Director
  12. 1987: 10th Anniversary Festival,  Atlanta, GA
  13. 1988: Kathie deNobriga begins as Executive Director
  14. 1988: Annual Meeting, Camp Rockmont
  15. 1990: Annual Meeting, Sports Camp
  16. 1992: Annual Meeting, Table Rock
  17. 1994: Community Arts Revival, Durham
  18. 1994: First Cafe Bizzoso
  19. 1996: 20th Anniversary
  20. 1997: Son of White Man moment 
  21. 1998: Alice Lovelace begins as Executive Director
  22. 2002: 25th Anniversary
  23. 2002: FOCAS Festival, Louisville KY
  24. 2003: Organizational commitment to racial justice
  25. 2003: Partnered with Art in the Public Interest
  26. 2003: Carolyn Morris begins as Executive Director
  27. 2004: First Annual Meeting at Lutheridge, Arden, NC
  28. 2004: Hip hop Artist Activist Scholars (AKA “When Hip Hop Met the Hippies”)
  29. 2004: Partnered with the Center for Digital Storytelling
  30. 2005: Hurricanes Katrina & Rita build off the Gulf Coast during the Annual Meeting
  31. 2006: UPROOTED: The Katrina Project
  32. 2007: Participated in the United States Social Forum, Atlanta, GA
  33. 2009: Carlton Turner becomes Interim Director
  34. 2010: Participated in the United States Social Forum, Detroit, MI
  35. 2011: 35th Anniversary/ROOTS Fest, West Baltimore, MD
  36. 2012: Joan Mitchell Visual Artists Scholars program begins
  37. 2014: Changes to Membership Structure
  38. 2015: Carlton Turner attends “In Performance at the White House: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the NEA and the NEH”
  39. 2015: ROOTS partners with NALAC, First People’s Fund & the PA’I Foundation to found the Intercultural Leadership Institute
  40. 2016: 40th Anniversary/A Call to Action: Emergent Organizing
Alternate ROOTS supports the creation and presentation of original art that is rooted in communities of place, tradition or spirit. We are a group of artists and cultural organizers based in the South creating a better world together. As Alternate ROOTS, we call for social and economic justice and are working to dismantle all forms of oppression—everywhere.