African American History

An integral part of the Roswell community's past, present and future.

African Americans were present in Roswell from the time the community was founded in 1839 and through the city's official incorporation in 1854. Throughout the years, the African American community has continued to make contributions to Roswell. Several of those contributions are listed below.

Children’s Development Academy/Groveway Community Group- 89 Grove Way

Founded in 1943, The Groveway Community Group was created to provide support services and ensure improvement of the general welfare of the community. In 1961, residents had to rebuild the center after the Ku Klux Klan torched it. Once the community center was rebuilt, programs like high school diploma assistance programs, the Roswell Chapter of the Masons and Boy Scout Troop 206 were created to be activities for the local residents. In 1971, after partnering with Atlanta Boys Club and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Groveway Community Group merged with North Fulton Child Development Association (now Children’s Development Academy).

Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church- 725 Pleasant Hill Street

In 1922, land was purchased for a permanent one-room home for the church, which was used until the 1950s. The current Church building opened for services in 1963 and has continued to grow, even through the Great Depression. The Pleasant Hill Community Center was opened in 2005 to further emphasize the church’s goal to positively impact the Roswell Community.

Pleasant Hill Historic Cemetery- Located off Old Roswell Place, behind the Roswell Town Center shopping area

Burials started in 1855 although the earliest marked grave is 1904. The first Pleasant Hill Church site was on the south side of the cemetery.

Woodstock Park- 40 Woodstock Street

In 1958, the Josh Gibson Negro League was created as an opportunity for organized sports for African Americans. There were about eight teams in the league and games were held at what is now Woodstock Park. The league was named after Josh Gibson, who was an American Negro League baseball catcher and the second Negro player to be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Zion Missionary Baptist Church- 888 Zion Circle. Historic Church at 929 Zion Circle

The original, one-room structure, which also served as a school, was destroyed by fire in 1885. After being rebuilt, it was again damaged by fire in the early 1960s. In 1963 the old structure was torn down to make way for a new building opening in 1964. In 1999, on new property purchased by the church, Zion again expanded its footprint and continues its outreach both within Roswell and throughout the world.