Seattle’s Full Story

Historic Seattle is committed to addressing racism within our organization and making tangible progress in resolving our organization’s lack of diversity in our staffing, governance, and storytelling.

Understanding and Preserving Black History

In order to understand racial injustice, we must take the time to educate ourselves about the history of racist violence by White people against African Americans – and the intergenerational trauma it has caused. Furthermore, as preservationists, we must work harder to acknowledge and celebrate Black history.

Historic Seattle is committed to addressing racism within our organization and making tangible progress in resolving our organization’s lack of diversity in our staffing, governance, and storytelling. As such, in July 2020, we announced the creation of the recurring blog feature “Seattle’s Full Story.”

About Seattle’s Full Story

Inspired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Telling the Full American Story” initiative and aiming to help advance the work of the Black community in the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter movement, we are actively soliciting compensated content from Black contributors for our recurring blog feature “Seattle’s Full Story.” This call will expand to all BIPOC community members later this year.

Because our organization is a public development authority, we cannot include content that endorses political candidates or specific policy positions. It is our intention to post submissions without editing, with the exception of explicit language if needed in order to be appropriate for a general public audience of all ages.

As with volunteer contributions solicited from the public in spring 2020, the following guidelines apply: No prejudiced or biased content. No explicit images. Submissions should relate to telling Black stories of Seattle’s history and/or preservation. The format is not limited to traditional article format – photo series, poems, art, song, video, etc. are all options.

Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis (no deadline). Creators of selected contributions will receive a $100 honorarium for their work. For consideration, contributors may submit either a short concept summary (1-3 sentences) to be developed into full content upon selection or the complete piece if they so choose. Contributors retain all rights and ownership of their submitted intellectual property. We ask contributors to note “Published as part of the Seattle’s Full Story blog initiative of Historic Seattle” in any subsequent posting.

For more information or to submit, contact Naomi West at naomiw@historicseattle.org.

More Resources

Many other groups & organizations are working to tell the full American story, across our region, state, and country. To learn more, visit:

National:

  • The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a National Trust for Historic Preservation campaign “to draw attention to the remarkable stories that evoke centuries of African American activism and achievement, and to tell our nation’s full history.”
  • Preserving African American Historic Places, a 24-page primer published by the National Trust.
  • The Mildred Colodny Diversity Scholarship, a National Trust program that “provides financial assistance and experiential learning opportunities to individuals preparing for careers in historic preservation. The purpose of the Colodny Scholarship is to increase the diversity of people pursuing degrees and careers in historic preservation in the United States.”
  • The Space/Race Reading List, a crowdsourced reading list “on how race and racism are constructed with spatial means, and on how in turn space can be shaped by racism.”

Local:

  • Beyond Integrity, a 4Culture initiative to elevate equity in preservation standards and practices.
  • The Northwest African American Museum, an institution which “envisions a Pacific Northwest region where the important histories, arts, and cultures of people of African descent are embraced as an essential part of our shared heritage and future.”
  • Wa Na Wari, a “space for Black ownership, possibility, and belonging through art, historic preservation, and connection…in Seattle’s historically redlined Central District neighborhood.”
  • The Black Heritage Society of Washington State, whose mission is to “collect, preserve, and interpret the contributions of African Americans in Washington State.”

This page will continue to be updated. If you’d like to suggest a resource, please email info@historicseattle.org.

Pictured: A stained glass window at Mount Zion Baptist Church, manufactured by Mr. Douglas Phillips of Cleveland, OH. At the time of the construction of this church, Mr. Phillips was the only Black owner of a stained glass studio in the United States. The windows represent some of the Black church leaders and heroes who have made significant contributions to American civilization and were designed exclusively for the Mount Zion Baptist Church of Seattle.

Left: Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968). Preacher, prophet, peaceful warrior. Civil rights leader. Right: Nathaniel “Nat” Turner (1800 – 1831). Enslaved Black man who launched one of the most historic and largest revolts to end enslavement in Southampton County, Virginia. It lasted 48 hours before armed, White men suppressed the revolt. (Source: Zinn Education Project)

#BlackLivesMatter #TellTheFullStory