The group, described by co-founder Elaina Beeman as a “youth and adult empowerment project,” was formed in January by local black ministers and community leaders.
A weekend of free events begins tonight with MOVE 22’s presentation of the Portable Black History Museum, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Kelsey-Aycock-Burrell Center, 41 Washington Drive.
Beeman said the exhibit is about Rome’s history of African American business owners, with a special focus on the Five Points area. Readers dressed in historic clothing will tell stories, and refreshments will be served.
According to Beeman, it’s hoped that the past will encourage future business owners, especially those who are struggling to find a job.
“When it was hard to find jobs, people created their own businesses,” she said.
The museum will also be open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
MOVE 22’s focus shifts to the present on Saturday, with a Black Business Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Thankful Baptist Church gym, 935 Spider Webb Drive.
Beeman said the event will bring black business owners from Rome and Floyd County together to network and learn about local resources.
“If they don’t know how to grow their business, or if they want to join the Chamber of Commerce, we can walk them through that,” Beeman said.
The weekend wraps up Sunday with a last chance to see the portable museum, which will be open that day from noon to 5 p.m.
Organizers felt they could not wait long to host these events, due to the economy and the lack of information out there for minority business owners, Beeman said.
“Next year, we want it to be bigger, but we have to start now,” she said. “We have people unemployed and kids graduating from high school not knowing what they are going to do for money.”
For more information about this weekend’s events, call 706-622-7917.