Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Summer of 2017 Part 4

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As we know more about American cities, we see the beauty and the diversity of American culture. The city of Seattle has a powerful history of technology, social activism, and other aspects of human civilization. We recognize many people from Seattle for their great work in advancing human tolerance, environmental justice, racial justice, gender justice, and equality in general. This fight for human liberation continues in our generation. In our time, I have learned much more about Seattle than ever before. Seattle is a West Coast city with almost 700,000 people who live in it. So, it is the largest city in Washington State and the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Some call it the fastest growing major city in America. It is growing rapidly. It is found in the isthmus between Puget Sound (which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington. It is also about 100 miles south of the Canada/United States border. It is the fourth largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015. Seattle is very well known for its musical history. For example, from the duration of time from 1918 to 1951, there were almost two dozen jazz nightclubs along Jackson Street (from the current Chinatown/International District to the Central District). The jazz scene in Seattle influenced the early careers of Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Ernestine Anderson, and other musicians. Seattle is the birthplace of rock musician Jimi Hendrix and the alternative rock subgenre grunge. Seattle's gorgeous architecture has been iconic in its imagery for a long time. For over 100 years, Seattle has inspired our thinking, our creativity, and our activism as human beings. Therefore, we honor the great people of Seattle, who represent the greatness found in us as members of the human family. The history of Seattle of course begins with Native Americans. Today, Seattle is diverse ethnically and culturally and we appreciate that diversity too.

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In the Beginning

The Pacific Northwestern city of Seattle started with Native American human beings. During the last glacial period (from 8,000 to 10,000 years ago), Native Americans were in the area. They worked, ate food, and gathered resources to grow their civilizations. By the mid 1850’s, the Coast Salish peoples (or now called the Duwamish Tribe and the Suquamish) including other groups plus tribes lived in 13 villages in present day city limits of Seattle. There has been continuous human habitation of a village site within the city limits dating back to the 6th century A.D. This existed in the modern day Port of Seattle Terminal 107 site, which is located on the Western bank of the Duwamish River. The site was abandoned in ca. 1800 because of unknown reasons.   Many village site include the birthplace of Chief Seattle, which is located near the current footprint of the King Street Station. George Vancouver was the first European to visit the Seattle area in May of 1792 during his 1791-92 expedition to chart the Pacific Northwest. Many people date the founding of Seattle from the arrival of the Denny Party scouts in September 25, 1851. Yet, Luther Collins, Henry Van Asselt, and the Maple family founded a farming settlement on what is currently the Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown in September 27, 1851. The Denny party’s original site was an unfinished cabin. It didn’t have a roof and it had a camp site. It was located in Alki Point, in West Seattle. The Collins party settlement was improved with permanent structures, and was soon producing produce and meat for sale and barter. In April 1852, Arthur A. Denny abandoned the original site at Alki in favor of a better protected site on Elliott Bay that is now part of downtown Seattle. Arthur A. Denny and Luther Collins were the first commissioners of King County after its creation in 1852. Around the same time, David Swinson "Doc" Maynard began settling the land immediately south of Denny's.

During the early decades of the city of Seattle, it relied on the timber industry. It shipped logs (and later milled timber) to San Francisco. Back then, forests with trees up to 1, 000 to 2,000 years old and as high as almost 400 ft. covered much of Seattle. Today, none of those trees in that size remain in the city. Seattle would dominate the lumber industry. This came when Henry Yesler brought the first steam sawmill to the region. He picked the location on the waterfront where Maynard and Denny’s plats met. Charlie Terry sold out Alki (which, after his departure barely held on as a settlement). He moved to Seattle and began acquiring land. He either owned or partially owned Seattle's first timber ships. He eventually gave a land grant to the University of the Territory of Washington (later University of Washington), and was instrumental in the politics to establish an urban infrastructure. Seattle evolved from a logging town to a small city. It was founded officially by the Methodists of the Denny Party. Seattle back then had a reputation of being a haven for prostitution, liquor, and gambling. Loggers continued to come into Seattle. According to real estate records, nearly all of Seattle’s first 60 businesses were on or immediately adjacent to Maynard’s plat. Also, this occurred in the midst of many white settlers having a rocky relationship (to put it lightly) with local Native Americans. There was the Battle of Seattle during January 25, 1856. Seattle was incorporated as a town in January 14, 1865. That charter was voided in January 18, 1867. This was in response to questionable activities of the town's elected leaders. Seattle was re-incorporated December 2, 1869. At the times of incorporations, the population was approximately 350 and 1,000, respectively. In 1867, there was a young French Canadian Catholic priest named Francis X. Prefontaine. He arrived in Seattle and formed a parish there. Few Catholics lived there. The first Catholic church was opened in 1869 in Seattle. Later, its railroad system developed and grew.

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The Klondike Gold Rush

Seattle grew fast in the 19th century. By July 14, 1873, the Northern Pacific Railway said that they chose the village of Tacoma over Seattle as the Western terminus of their transcontinental railroad. The railroad barons wanted to be take advantage of buying up land around the terminus cheaply not bringing the railroad into a more established Pacific port town. Seattle tried to create a railroad of its own. The Great Northern Railway came about in 1884 in Seattle. This caused Seattle to compete for freight. It would be until 1906 before Seattle had a major rail passenger terminal. Back then, problems existed in Seattle. It had newspapers and telephones. Yet, many people were lynched with the lynch law. Schools struggled and indoor plumbing was rare. That is why changes came about. Union organizing arrived first in the form of a skilled craft union. In 1882, Seattle printers formed the Seattle Typographical Union Local 202. Dockworkers followed in 1886, cigar makers in 1887, tailors in 1889, and both brewers and musicians in 1890. Even the newsboys unionized in 1892, followed by more organizing, mostly of craft unions. There was also anti-Chinese vigilantism or violent racism against Chinese people in Seattle.

In 1883, Chinese laborers played a key role in the first effort at digging the Montlake Cut to connect Lake Union's Portage Bay to Lake Washington's Union Bay. In 1885-1886, whites—sometimes in combination with some Native Americans—complaining of overly cheap labor competition, drove the Chinese settlers from Seattle, Tacoma, and other Northwest cities. Washington Territory back then was one of the first places of America to briefly allow women’s suffrage (or giving women the right to vote). Women had a strong history in early Seattle. The first bathtub with plumbing was in 1870. In the 1880's, Seattle got its first streetcar and cable car, ferry service, a YMCA gymnasium, and the exclusive Rainier Club. Seattle passed an ordinance requiring attached sewer lines for all new residences. It also began to develop a road system. The relative fortunes of Seattle and Tacoma clearly show the nature of Seattle's growth. Though both Seattle and Tacoma grew at a rapid rate from 1880 to 1890, based on the strength of their timber industries, Seattle's growth as an exporter of services and manufactured goods continued for another two decades, while Tacoma's growth dropped almost to zero. The reason for this lies in Tacoma's nature as a company town and Seattle's successful avoidance of that condition. The great fire came into Seattle in June 6, 1889. It was started by a glue pot.

It burned 29 city blocks (almost all of them were filled with wooden buildings and about 10 brick buildings were burned too). It destroyed almost the entire business district. All railroad terminals and all but four of the wharves were burned. Major fires like this were common in Washington that summer: the center of Ellensburg was destroyed by fire on July 4 and downtown Spokane burned on August 4. Thanks in part to credit arranged by Jacob Furth, Seattle rebuilt from the ashes with astounding rapidity. A new zoning code resulted in a downtown of brick and stone buildings, rather than wood. In the single year after the fire, the city grew from 25,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, largely because of the enormous number of construction jobs suddenly created.  Still, south of Yesler Way, the open city atmosphere remained. The greatest boom period for Seattle occurred during the Klondike gold rush. Seattle, as well as the rest of the nation, was suffering from the economic panic of 1893, and to a lesser extent, the panic of 1896. Gold was discovered in August 1896 in the Klondike region of Canada. Almost one year later, on July 17, 1897, the steamer Portland arrived at Schwabacher's Wharf in Seattle. A publicity campaign engineered largely by Erastus Brainerd told the world of the Portland's "ton of gold," started the Klondike gold rush, and established Seattle as its supply center and the jumping-off point for transportation to and from Alaska and the gold fields of the Yukon. The rush ended the depression overnight for Seattle. The miners mined the gold. Seattle helped out the miners.

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The Early 20th Century

After the gold rush in Seattle, massive immigration came into Seattle. Seattle’s neighborhoods developed. New immigrants traveled into the city’s core. It had a Public Market too. Downtown extended into more locations. Streetcars provided transportation to new outlying neighborhoods. The vision of city engineer R. H. Thomson was to develop municipal utilities. Therefore, a massive effort existed to level the steep hills that rose south and north of the bustling city. A seawall had dirt from Denny Regrade formed a current waterfront. More soil from the Denny Regrade went to create the industrial Harbor Island at the mouth of the Duwamish River, which is south of Downtown. Seattle’s topography was transformed in other ways too beyond the Denny Regrade. The Jackson Regrade was already reshaped Pioneer Square and the International District. The 1911–1917 construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal included two major "cuts" (the Montlake Cut and the Fremont Cut), four bascule bridges, and the Government Locks (now Hiram M. Chittenden Locks). The level of Lake Washington dropped; the Black River, which formerly ran out of the south end of the lake, dried up completely, and Seward Island became the Seward Peninsula, now the site of Seward Park.

These actions didn’t exist with zoning. Land was used for a diversity of reasons and many economic classes were in those places. City planners also put in plans for parks and boulevards under a plan. This plan was organized by the Olmsted Firm. It created many parks and about 20 miles of boulevard, which linked most of the parks and greenbelts within city limits. The ambiance of Seattle today in part was originated from that project. Seattle transformed from a large wilderness in part to a major city.  The Seattle Symphony was founded in 1903 and while few, if any, other comparably important arts institutions were established. This was during a time where popular entertainments spread rapidly.  Vaudeville impresarios Alexander Pantages, John Considine, and John Cort (the last also involved in legitimate theater) were all based in Seattle during this era.

Seattle is a major seaport then and now. It depends on its waterfront for much of its economy. Before 1911, the seaport of Seattle was made up of jumble of private rail lines and docks. So, the progressive reformers helped to build a port owned and operated by the local government. The efficient new system allowed Seattle to expand after 1945 with the Sea-Tac airport. This allowed Seattle to be one of the first Pacific Coast ports to move to containerized shipping and thus expand business with Asia. Seattle continued to grow rapidly during the early 1900’s. It had its Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 to celebrate its growth. Many people challenged the status quo too. The Labor left and the progressives wanted better government. They opposed the hegemony of the captains of industry. Rail baron James J. Hill, addressing Seattle business leaders in 1909, noted and regretted the change. "Where," he asked, "are the man who used to match your mountains...?" Religion was less of a force in Seattle than in eastern cities. Yet, the Protestant Social Gospel movement was strong. There was one national leader in the Rev. Mark A. Matthews (1867-1940) of Seattle's First Presbyterian Church. He was a tireless reformer who investigated red light districts and crime scenes, denouncing corrupt politicians businessmen and saloon keepers. With 10,000 members, his was the largest Presbyterian Church in the country, and he was selected the denomination's national moderator in 1912. He build a model church, with night schools, unemployment bureaus, a kindergarten, anti-tuberculosis clinics, and America's first church-owned radio station. Matthews was the most influential clergymen in the Pacific Northwest.

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The era of WWI existed in Seattle too. In 1910, Seattle voters approved of a referendum. It wanted to create development for the city. Yet, the result of it was called the Bogue plan. It was never implemented. The unused plan had formed a grand civic center in Belltown and the Denny Regrade connected to the rest of the city by a rapid transit rail system (with a huge expansion of the park system). The park system was crowned by a total conversion of 4,000 acre (1,600 hectare) Mercer Island into parkland. Yet, the plan was defeated by an alliance of fiscal conservatives. They opposed the plan because of its grandiose nature. The populists opposed it since they viewed the plan as mainly benefiting the rich. Lumber and maritime industries grew in Seattle during the 1910’s. World War I increased Pacific maritime trade and a boom in shipbuilding developed. There was belligerency in the Atlantic Ocean. The war ended and economic output crashed. The reason was that the government stopped buying boats. Also, there were no new industries to pick up the slack. Seattle stopped being the place of explosive growth. Opportunities declined for two consecutive decades. After WWI, Washington State in its western areas was a hotbed of radical labor agitation.

In 1918, there was a dispute over post-war lowering of waterfront wages. It spread into the Seattle General Strike. The Industrial Workers of the World played an important role in the strike. The Seattle mayor Ole Hanson became a big figure in the First Red Scare (which was about anti-Communist paranoia which violated the freedom of speech). Hanson made an unsuccessful attempt to ride that backlash to the White House in an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for the Presidential election of 1920. Seattle also focused on the arts. It became an arts center by the 1920’s. The Frye and Henry families put on public displays of the collections that would be the Frye Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery. Australian painter Ambrose Patterson came into Seattle in 1919. Over the next decades, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, Guy Irving Anderson, and Paul Horiuchi would establish themselves as nationally and internationally known artists. Bandleader Vic Meyers and others kept the speakeasies jumping through the Prohibition era, and by mid-century the thriving jazz scene in the city's Skid Road district would launch the careers of such luminaries as Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. In 1924, Seattle's Sand Point Airfield was the endpoint of the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. The historic flight helped convince Congress to develop Sand Point as a Naval Air Station. The Great Depression hit Seattle hard. One example is how Seattle issued 2,538 permits for housing construction in 1930, but only 361 in 1932. During the Maritime Strike of 1934, Smith Cove was nearly a battle zone; shippers were scared, to the point where Seattle lost most of its Asian trade to Los Angeles.

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WWII and the Boeing Era

Economic growth developed in Seattle from World War II to 1970. The economy was booming and Boeing hired many human beings. There was no massive regional planning, but the city didn’t grow large enough to feel the strain. William Boeing made his airplane company out of his boat company. He always had a fascination with flying and aircraft. During World War I, Boeing grew to employ "about four thousand people, with sales just under ten million dollars a year, it was a good if unspectacular business for Seattle." The company struggled through the period between the wars, and "began to build dressers, counters and furniture for a corset company and a confectioner's shop, as well as flat-bottomed boats called sea sleds.” When World War II begins, the government desired tens of thousands of planes a year. Boeing was positioned to provide them. Many human beings worked under fixed fee contracts. So, Boeing churned out aircraft and became the largest employer in Seattle. When the war ended, “the military canceled its bomber orders; Boeing factories shut down and 70,000 people lost their jobs," and initially it appeared that Seattle had little to show for the wartime Boeing boom. However, this period of stagnation soon ended with the rise of the jet aircraft and Boeing's reincarnation as the world's leading producer of commercial passenger planes. At the same time, the freeways were being built to compensate for all this new growth.

Most of the Eastside (east of Lake Washington) and northern suburbs came into being during the Boeing boom. Also, the Interstate Highways I-5 and I-90 grew. I-5 cut off Downtown Seattle from Capitol Hill and First Hill. Part of the historic downtown, including the Tony Sorrento Hotel, was left stranded on the "wrong" side of the freeway. Freeway Park was eventually built over I-5 in 1976, restoring something of a link between Downtown and First Hill. With all this postwar growth came growing pollution of the lakes and rivers. These rivers and lakes provided much of beauty that had been Seattle's appeal to its recent immigrants. Also, the sprawl constantly demanded more roads, since the ones already built had terrible traffic. Jim Ellis and other Seattle natives, anxious to preserve the city in which they grew up, came together to institute the Metropolitan Problems Committee, or METRO, intended to manage and plan the metropolitan area. The original, comprehensive METRO regional plan was defeated in a vote by the suburbanites; METRO came back, scaled down to a sewage treatment and transport organization; METRO was eventually merged into the King County government. During this time, Seattle wanted to counter the decline of its downtown and the area immediately to the north by hosting the Century 21 Exposition, the 1962 World’s Fair. The fair, given a futuristic science theme, was designed to leave behind a civic center, now known as Seattle Center, including arts buildings, the Pacific Science Center and the Space Needle, and serving also a fairground. There was a demonstration monorail line was that constructed at no cost to the city and paid for out of ticket sales and then turned over to the city for $600,000 (according to the Seattle Center Monorail). It is now mostly a tourist attraction. The World’s Fair arguably reenergized the downtown of Seattle and it was a success, even finished with a profit. After World War II, the University of Washington took a step forward. Back then, its university president was Charles Odegaard.

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The Boeing Bust

The Boeing Bust existed because of many factors. They are the decline in the Vietnam War military spending, the slowing of the space program (as Project Apollo was near completion), and the recession of 1969-1970. Boeing’s $2 billion in debt existed as it built the 747 airliner. The company and the Seattle area suffered. Commercial Airplane Group or the largest unit of Boeing went from 83,700 employees in 1968 to 20,750 in 1971. Each unemployed Boeing employee cost at least one other job. Unemployment increased to 14%, which was the highest in America during that time. Housing vacancy rates rose to 16% from 1% in 1967. U-Haul dealerships ran out of trailers because so many people moved out. A billboard appeared near the airport: “Will the last person leaving SEATTLE- Turn out the lights.” After 1973, Seattle was in good company for its recession. The rest of the nation suffered the energy crisis too. The Pike Place Market (or arguably Seattle’s most important tourist attraction) gained its modern form in the aftermath of the Boeing crash. The internment of Japanese Americans from Seattle during World War II had hit the market hard too. 80 percent of its vendors were ethnically Japanese. A “Keep the Market” initiative was led by architect Victor Steinbrueck. It passed in 1971. He pushed for an adaptive reuse. The project was very successful in spite of intense opposition by the Seattle political establishment. Today, the Pike Place Market pulls nine million visitors every year. Pioneer Square has a similar story. It was an old neighborhood. It was built after the Fire of 1889. It had fallen into derelict status after the war of WWII. Yet, Seattle’s downtown became reenergized. Businesses started to look for buildings that could be acquired cheaply. Offices moved into renovated buildings. Therefore, there was a market for facilities to service them, leading to a “flood of other restaurants, galleries, boutiques.” Seattle was definitely recovering from the blow dealt by the Boeing recession, refilling areas that had threatened to become slums. From the late 1950’s, Seattle was one of the centers of the emergence of the American counter-culture and the culture of protest. Before grunge there were beats, fringies (a local Seattle term), hippies, and batcavers.

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The Civil Rights movement in Seattle

African Americans have lived in Seattle for over 100 years. Many don’t know about the vital history of African Americans in Seattle. Today, in our generation, it is time to show more people the courage and the resiliency of black people from Seattle spanning a long time. One famous man of Seattle was William Grose. He lived from 1835 to 1898. He was the second black resident of Seattle. He was a wealthy man. He was born in Washington, D.C. Later, he lived in California and British Columbia before he came into Seattle in 1861. His wife, Sarah Grose, and their daughter Rebecca were Seattle’s first female black residents. In 1876, he formed a restaurant and hotel on Yesler Way called “Our House.” He formed a barbershop too. Back then, tons of black people were restricted to be in restaurants and barbershops. Overtly racist laws existed in neighboring states like Oregon and Idaho. The first black resident of Seattle was Manuel Lopes (he arrived in 1858, which was seven years after the Denny Party landed in Alki). By the 1890’s, Grose was the wealthiest black resident in Seattle. Grose was a trustee of Seattle's first African-American church, the Jones Street African Methodist Episcopal Church (now First AME Church), which was founded in 1891, by Reverend L. S. Blakeney, Seaborn J. Collins, Alfred P. Freeman, and Grose's son George H. Grose. He was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Seattle. Back then, Seattle had a lot of racism. Seattle was also segregated. Black people were excluded from most jobs.

Racism discrimination was experienced by African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, people of Mexican descent, and Jewish people in many cases. Back during the early to mid-20th century, people of color were heavily restricted from many schools, neighborhoods, and even hospitals. People lived in segregated natives. From the 1910's to the 1960’s, there were many Seattle neighborhoods plus King County suburbs that used overt and total racial exclusion. There were racial restrictive covenants which excluded who could live in a neighborhood based on race. Anti-Semitism was so bad back then that the Seattle chapter of the Anti-Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith had to fight against the Laurelhurst Beach Club that denied membership to Jewish residents of the Laurelhurst neighborhood. Black people in Seattle fought back against injustice as well.

In 1942, Florise Spearman and Dorothy West Williams were the first African Americans to be hired at Boeing. Their employment was part of a 2 year campaign which was led by the Northwest Enterprise (which was Seattle’s black owned newspaper) and a coalition of black activists. The Aeronautical Workers union fought the demand for open hiring. It was only when the federal government intervened was when the company and the union gave up the white only employment policy. Back in 1939, Hutchen R. Hutchines (who was a black activist and a former local Communist Party leader) fought for black people to be included in the Boeing Company. It was a long fight. Even after President Roosevelt banned companies with contracts with the government to end discrimination in the war industries, Boeing took a while in order for it to hire African Americans. Between 1940 and 1950, Seattle’s black population grew 413 percent from 3,789 people to 15,666 people. Belle Alexander was one of the first African Americans to work in Boeing too. The black community in Seattle back then worked in a network of civic groups, churches, fraternal clubs, newspaper companies, families, etc. African Americans in Seattle were active in the NAACP, the UNIA or the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the national Urban League, and the National Negro Congress. Back then, African Americans were heavily restricted to menial jobs. The covenant policies forced most black people to live in the Central District or an area between Downtown Seattle and Lake Washington. Many black people fought racism and discrimination in labor unions too. Seattle’s Urban League has been crucial in the 1920’s and beyond to fight for civil rights. Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Jewish people, and other ethnic groups fought for civil rights for decades in Seattle too.

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She is the heroic Sister Belle Alexander. 

During the 1960’s, the civil rights movement grew. Many organizations fought against de facto segregation in Seattle. De facto segregation is segregation by policy not by overt law per se. The Central District neighborhood in Detroit was an epicenter of the civil rights movement of Seattle during the early 1960’s.

By that time many groups worked together to fight against employment discrimination, police brutality, school segregation, and for open housing. These groups were the NAACP, CORE, the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC), and the Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP). Activists used boycotts, networking, direct action, pickets, and coalition building. In 1961, many people in Seattle supported the Freedom Rider movement (which was bout a multiracial group of people to support integrated interstate bus travel in the South as the Supreme Court permitted). People used the boycott against Safeway for its refusal to hire minorities. There was a boycott by CORE, the NAACP, and churches. It worked and Safeway promised to meet employment demands. Ray Cooper came into Mississippi to fight for change too. One Freedom Rider from Seattle is Jon Schaefer. In February of 1963, activists fight for open housing. They held a rally at the First AME Church. It was organized by the Central Area Committee for Open Housing and chaired by Rev McKinney to be held on Feb 8th. James Baldwin is touring the West Coast for CORE. As early as July 1965, black people organized freedom patrols which monitored the police in the streets in order to prevent police brutality. Back then, tensions among the police from Seattle and the black residents were in an all-time high. As far back as 1938, Seattle police officers beat an African American to death. In cities across America, civilian reviews and civil rights commissions would exist. Before the Black Panther Party was formed, Seattle led the way in police monitoring. The issue of police brutality would continue to be talked about today in 2017.

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One of the most important events in Seattle was the 1966 school boycott. Segregation in Seattle schools existed. Many K-12 students used a boycott by doing into freedom schools instead of public school. This was done to oppose racial segregation in the Seattle school system. Students in the freedom schools learned a lot of African American history which was not taught in public schools back then. Folks fought for an integrated school system. Garfield High School in Seattle is a very famous high school made up of mostly African Americans. The segregation policy was part of the cycle of discrimination for black human lives. Many of the segregated schools had less funding, less experienced teachers, lower graduation rates, and lower test scores. Yet, black people for decades fought for change. Black people fought for a discussion and changes. The Urban League promoted the Triad plan to handle education issues. Rev. John Adams of the First AME Church wanted more radical action. Seattle NAACP leader E. June Smith said that: “if the Seattle School Board does not devise a long-range school integration program and begin implementing it next fall, we will have to dramatize our concern.” The boycott and the freedom schools were very successful. It would be until September 29, 1978 until Seattle would be the largest city in America to desegregate schools without a court order. The freedom schools existed in local churches. By the late 1960’s, high unemployment existed in Seattle. Some people still ignored the issue of racial discrimination and economic oppression.

It is important to remember the heroes of that era too. Belle Alexander fought for justice during the 1940’s. John H. Adams helped to fight in the civil rights struggles during the 1960’s. He was a pastor at the First AME Church from 1962 to 1968. Kenyatto Amen-Allah was a member of the Black Panther Party. He is part of the Panther Legacy Committee today and he once attended the BPP’s Liberation School. Vivian Caver fought in the Urban League desegregation campaigns of the 1940’s, working the open housing campaigns of the 1960’s, and was Chair of Seattle Human Rights Department. Mark Cook was a Black Panther Party member. Dorothy Hollingsworth was a social worker. Dorothy Hollingsworth moved to Seattle in 1946 and became active in the Christian Friends for Racial Equality and later the Central Area Civil Rights Committee and Model Cities. She served as first director of Head Start in Seattle, and was the first black woman elected to the Seattle School Board. Bettylou Valentine moved to Seattle in 1959 to attend graduate school. An NAACP activist, she joined CORE in the early 1960's and helped organize campaigns against employment discrimination in grocery stores and downtown department stores, against housing discrimination, and against police harassment of African Americans.

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The Black Power movement was very strong in Seattle. Seattle was one of the largest centers of the Black Panther Party. The Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. One famous leader of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party was Aaron Dixon. The Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party existed in spring of 1968. It lasted until 1978. Its membership grew and it was very influential in the region. The Panthers wanted to stop police brutality, they formed children breakfast programs, and they believed in armed self-defense. This era of the late 1960’s saw many young people rejecting pacifism or unconditional nonviolence and endorsed a more militant approach in achieving justice. Mirroring the incident in Sacramento that had brought so much attention in 1967, on February 28, 1969, a group of Seattle Panthers led by Lt. Elmer Dixon gathered on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia to protest a bill that would make it a crime to exhibit firearms "in a manner manifesting an intent to intimidate others.” In contrast to the California demonstration, they did not enter the building and they were not arrested. Many early Seattle BPP members include Elmer Dixon, Anthony Ware, Gary Owens, etc. Aaron Dixon wrote his own book about his personal experiences entitled, “MY People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain.”

Many Panthers defended the rights of black men, women, and children. Also, the Black Panthers were anti-imperialists. They opposed the Vietnam War, defended African revolutionary movements, and supported black liberation. COINTELPRO, in fighting among some members, and other issues decreased the power of the BPP by the 1970’s. Yet they were right to oppose police terrorism, racism, and capitalistic exploitation in our communities (which exist today in our generation). In the University of Washington, students fought for more minority recruitment and funding. Then President Charles Odegaard allowed the creation of a Black Studies curriculum.

Today, civil rights leaders and activists exist readily in Seattle. I do send great respect to the young Sister Angela Rye. Angela Rye should receive great respect for defining the truth. She refuted the lies and bigotry from Joe Walsh and Bill O'Reilly. Walsh made the racist, evil statement that former President Barack Obama was on a lower standard because he is a black man. That's a lie, because Barack Obama was heavily vetted and unfairly disrespected. Barack Obama was a U.S. Senator, a state Senator, a constitutional teacher, and a community organizer in Chicago. He has tons of qualifications. People can disagree with Barack Obama on various issues, but he is a very intelligent man. Obama's wife was also disrespected by far right extremists. Barack Obama has shown the greatest temperament in my view of any President in American history. In the first term of Trump alone, we have many scandals that deal with national security and other issues. Trump's Attorney General Sessions have tried to promote pro-War on Drugs and anti-civil liberty policies. Rye is right that O'Reilly is wrong to slander Maxine Waters too. Black women like Angela Rye, Michelle Obama, April Ryan, Maxine Waters, etc. should be treated with dignity and with respect.  As Michelle Obama has mentioned, when the haters go low, we go high. It is a fact that black people work twice as hard in order to get into the door constantly. Rye is from Seattle, which is a home to progressive activists. I send great respect for her showing her Blackness unapologetically and standing up for the truth. We want all people to live in peace and harmony. Yet, in order to do that, we must eradicate racism, sexism, and injustice in general. We forever support and love black women unconditionally.  I salute Sister Angela Rye. People of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds fought for equality in Seattle. So, Seattle has a very long civil rights tradition.

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High Tech Era

By the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Seattle grew in the high tech boom. In 1979, Bill Gates, Paul Allen (founders of Microsoft) moved their company from New Mexico to the suburbs of their native Seattle. By 1985, sales (of Microsoft) were over $140 million, by 1990, $1.18 billion, and by 1995, Microsoft was the world's most profitable corporation. Allen and Gates were billionaires, and literally thousands of their past and present employees were millionaires. Microsoft spawned a host of other companies in the Seattle area. Millionaire employees of Microsoft found their own companies. Allen left Microsoft and became a major investor in new companies. Seattle is home to many technological companies like InforSpace, RealNetworks, etc.  Quite unlike Boeing, Microsoft has served as a catalyst for the creation of a whole realm of the computer industry. Microsoft has also taken a much more active hand than Boeing in public works in the area, donating software to many schools (including the University of Washington). Biotechnology and coffee sectors are readily found in Seattle too. The international coffee shop chain Starbucks originated from Seattle. The Seattle based Nordstrom today is a national brand. Paul Allen is a political person too. He started a voter initiative to build the Seattle Commons, which is a huge park in South Lake Union and the Cascade District. He even offered to put up his own money to endow a security force for the park. It was defeated in the polls. He is now a leader of the movement to redevelop the same areas as a biotech center.  He did get a football stadium for the Seattle Seahawks through a successful statewide ballot initiative, and founded the Experience Music Project (originally intended as a Jimi Hendrix museum) on the grounds of Seattle Center. Seattle’s bid for the world stage by hosting the World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference of 1999 didn’t played as planned. Many protests existed back then.

There was a large anti-globalization movement (which opposed corporate exploitation, environmental degradation, and anti-labor oppression) that came into the streets of Seattle to oppose the WTO. Many protesters came in November 30, 1999. While many of those in the streets, most of those in the streets, were from out of town or even out of country. Much of the groundwork of Seattle hosting both the event and the protests against it can be attributed to local forces. In 2001, the central city was the site of violence in the Mardi Gras riot. Seattle along with other west coast cities experienced politically inspired confrontations and violence during the May Day marches in 2015. Today, the demographics of Seattle is similar to what it was during the 1960’s. Most of Seattle is white. There are many people who are African Americans and Asian-Americans. Progressives do live in Seattle. Suburbs have grown. Seattle’s economy is diverse and richer than decades ago. Great cultural activity is found in Seattle. Racism and economic inequality are still serious problems in Seattle like in places worldwide. Boeing is the larger employer of workers. Yet, its new headquarters are in Chicago. Microsoft remains and now supplemented by Amazon; the high tech leaders have spawned many startups. Pioneer Square still retains some of the ambiance of Skid Road. Seattle is a strong, beautiful city.

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Seattle in the 21st century

Seattle in the 21st century is experiencing a new era. It has tons of progressive people. Its infrastructure has developed. Its culture is dynamic. Still, issues of racism, police brutality, economic inequality, schooling, and other important issues remain. In the year of 2000, the Experience Music Project opens. There was the Nisqually Earthquake which took place in February 28, 2001. In the year of 2004, Seattle Central Library building opens, the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project was founded, and the Rat City Rollergirls (a roller derby league) was founded too. The Seattle Metropolitan begins publication in 2006. In 2008, the Titled Thunder Rail Birds (a roller derby league) was formed. The Central Link light rails started service between Westlake and Tukwila on July 18, 2009. In 2012, the ban against plastic shopping bags took effect. In 2012, the Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Living Computer Museum opened. The construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel by the tunnel-boring machine Bertha begins in 2013. By January of 2014, Ed Murray becomes the mayor. In February of 2014, Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl for the first time in its history. An increased minimum wage is announced in the same year too. The historic school teacher labor strikes happened in Seattle in September of 2015. In 2016, Kshama Sawant was in the office of the Seattle City Council. She was the first socialist to win a citywide election in Seattle since Anna Louise Strong was elected to the School Board in 1916. The first Hill Streetcar line opens in January 23, 2016. In March 19, 2016, the University Link Tunnel extends the light rail to Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium.

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The Culture of Seattle

The culture of Seattle is beautiful and diverse. It is a gateway to Alaska. Also, it is a city with the nickname of the Emerald City. It has evergreen forests all over the area. Seattle residents are called Seattleites. Seattle is a great center of the performing arts. There is the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, which performs regularly at Benaroya Hall. The Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet also perform at the McCaw Hall (which opened in 2003. It’s located in the site of the former Seattle Opera House at Seattle Center). The Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras (SYSO) is the largest symphonic youth organization in the United States. The city also boasts lauded summer and winter chamber music festivals organized by the Seattle Chamber Music Society. The 5th Avenue Theater was built in 1926. It shows Broadway-style musical shows. It hosts local talent and international stars. Its jazz locations have helped the careers of many musical legends like Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Bumps Blackwell, Ernestine Anderson, etc. Music from grunge, hip hop, R&B, rock, gospel, and other genres of music are a part of Seattle culture. Seattle and music go hand in hand. Film festivals and cruise ships readily predominate the lives of human beings in Seattle. There is the 24 day Seattle International Film Festival. Native American celebrations exist. The Greek Festival is hosted by St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Montlake. The Seattle Great Wheel, one of the largest Ferris wheels in the US, opened in June 2012 as a new, permanent attraction on the city's waterfront, at Pier 57, next to Downtown Seattle.  The city also has many community centers for recreation, including Rainier Beach, Van Asselt, Rainier, and Jefferson south of the Ship Canal and Green Lake, Laurelhurst, Loyal Heights north of the Canal, and Meadowbrook. Sports teams are down in Seattle like the Seahawks, the Mariners, the Sounders (in soccer), the Storm (in the WNBA), and the Reign (in soccer). Seattle is 69.5 percent Caucasian, 13.8 percent Asian, 7.9 percent African American, 6.6 percent Hispanic, 0.8 percent Native American, 0.4 percent Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and is filled with other ethnic groups. Seattle's foreign-born population grew 40% between the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

There is the Central District in the African American community too. There is the Northwest African American Museum that shows the history, culture, and art of African Americans (which celebrates the works of the educator Thelma Dewitty, the poet Langston Hughes, the painter Jacob Lawrence, the sculptor James Washington, and the playwright August Wilson) in the Pacific Northwest. African American cultural events (in promoting dance, theater, film music, history, and art) exist throughout Seattle from the Festival Sundiata, Umoja Fest, and the Earshot Jazz Festival. Asian American events exist too. Seattle has always been culturally diverse.

By Timothy

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