Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, President of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, and advocate for preserving The People’s Wall will discuss how a rally of support to save the wall is a community effort. Among those who will lend their voice to the conversation is Elmer Dixon, co-founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party (SCBPP).
The history of SCBPP is well documented, and the legacy of their work is undeniable. The SCBPP’s creation of Seattle’s free school breakfast programs and its early healthcare reform to establish the Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center have benefited our city and communities for decades.
The SCBPP’s second headquarters was located in Seattle’s Central Area at 20th Ave & E. Spruce Street from 1969 to 1972. During this time, the SCBPP commissioned artist Dion Henderson to create the mural wall (known today as The People’s Wall). In 2008, artist Eddie Walker carefully retouched the wall to restore the original color palette. The People’s Wall pays tribute to the Black Panther Party and fallen comrades. It is all that remains of the headquarters as the building was razed shortly after the SCBPP relocated one block west.
Today, in the Central Area’s Squire Park Neighborhood, The People’s Wall remains a visible reminder to shed light on a period of activism that was a nationwide call-to-action brought to bear locally by the SCBPP. At the forefront, the SCBPP was instrumental in leading a movement for equitable treatment under the law and social justice reform by and for the people.
Want an easy way to take action? Support our current advocacy effort to landmark Black historic sites. Only about 2% of all designated Seattle landmarks are directly linked to Black history. Your gift will help address this inequity! In partnership with the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, we are raising funds to landmark Black historic sites and develop preservation skills within the Black community.
Photo Credit: Carlos Imani