This past weekend saw the 6th annual Black History Month Run and Tour from the Movers and Pacers running club. The group, which was founded in 2013 by underground rapper/ veteran sneaker marketer Senor Kaos and Atlanta-based journalist Maurice Garland is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in November and began it’s annual Black History Run in 2018.
The 2-mile run is nearly all on Auburn Avenue, comprised of local school children and their families. The run consists of stopping at several sites on Auburn Avenue including Ebenezer Baptist Church, Wheat Street Baptist Church, Odd Fellows Building, the Atlanta Life Insurance building, Apex Museum, and Auburn Avenue Research Library to name a few. Each stop features a member of the run club reading aloud the history of each site, piecing together a visual tapestry of Black Atlanta’s most historic street.
For Kaos, the need to host the annual Black History Month run every February on Auburn Avenue was of importance and came about from his own experience on the famed street. “One day I was on Auburn Avenue, [seeing] there’s a lot of markers that commemorate different spaces. I came across a few that I had no idea what the significance was. And as somebody who’s grown up in the city, if I don’t know, then that means a bunch of other people that don’t know as well.”
For Kaos, who was already heading a majority-Black running club in Atlanta, the idea was a no-brainer. “So the idea of how can we find a way to incorporate and educate everyone, the kids as well as ourselves in this neighborhood, it’s been a beautiful journey.
In the six years since the start of the annual Black History Month run, it expanded to include a second run in Augusta Georgia, led by fellow club member Ernest Hawkins. Hawkins is a native of Augusta and the founder of the mental health initiative Run With E, an effort to address mental health through running. Hawkins has been one of the leaders of the Black History Month run in Atlanta and his native Augusta who is looking to keep Black History alive in Georgia in the way he knows best, running.
“We’re just keeping it going, keeping the movement going with educating the kids, the youth of Atlanta, exposing them to the history they might not be aware of. A lot of times you do not understand what you’re riding past the street. Or the meaning of the street it was named after. I just wanted to highlight, and give them a little bit of a background as to who they are, and where they came from and just broaden horizons.”
In the past six years, the run is becoming a staple of a new phase of Atlanta’s philanthropic community as this year’s event was sponsored by Delta Community Credit Union and the Athlete’s Foot. Adidas also gave out free gear to those in attendance, while Delta Community Credit Union offered free financial literacy courses to parents in attendance. But for the Athlete’s Foot Vice President of Marketing, Darius Billings, just being a sponsor of this event was the right thing to do. “As Black history, it’s great to support the kids and keep the legacy of Auburn Avenue. It’s great to see the youth learning about Black history plus the history of Atlanta.”
Movers and Pacers meet every Sunday morning at Atlantic Station at 9 am for their group runs. You can find out more by visiting them on Instagram and Facebook at Movers And Pacers.