TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The 17th Annual Soul Roll Invitational Skate Jam is underway in Tampa.

For four days, hundreds of people descend to Tampa from across the nation to participate in the annual Soul Roll Invitational. This year it is from January 12-16th at Astro Skate in Brandon.

During the Civil Rights Movement, roller skating became a popular activity for African-Americans to have an outlet and skate freely despite discrimination. In the 1950s, African-Americans would only have one night per week where the Black community could come together and skate. It was known as ‘Black night,’ but eventually became ‘soul night’ then ‘Martin Luther King night.’

In honor of that history and the growth of roller skating in 2006, Tampa native, Saletta Coleman create the Soul Roll Invitational and made it a part of the Black Heritage Festival weekend.

Every year hundreds of skaters from across the nation come to Tampa for four days of showing off their style, moves and talent on the skate floor.

“Roller skating is many things to different people,” Coleman said. “For some it’s a lifeline, it’s an outlet to escape. We have young folks just trying to stay off the streets and roller skating has been that outlet for many of us.”

The Soul Roll Invitation lasts all weekend long.