Black History Month Readings

Hear about the African Americans who helped build the Emerald City

David Denny, Henry Yesler, Bill Gates—these are the names that probably come first to mind when you think about the building of Seattle. They are all instrumental to our history, of course, but they hardly tell the whole tale. When King County Council member Larry Gossett’s father arrived in town in the mid-’50s, his family lived in housing projects in West Seattle’s High Point. He saved enough as a postal worker to eventually purchase a home, but “there was no way in the world any Realtor in Seattle, Washington was going to show a black man with six kids a house in West Seattle.” The family eventually moved to the Central District. Gossett’s story is one of 10 being told this afternoon by local actors and celebrities to celebrate the black men and women who shaped this city—from a slave that stowed away on a ship to Victoria to find his freedom to the first black nurse to graduate from Seattle University. Rev. Samuel McKinney remembers the night he found out Urban League Director Edwin Pratt had been murdered. The narratives are based on oral histories gathered with funding from arts supporter 4Culture. Jay Townsend provides musical interludes. Museum of History and Industry, 2700 24th Ave. E., 650-4188, www.seattlehistory.org. $5-$15. 3 p.m. LAURA ONSTOT

Sun., Feb. 10, 3 p.m., 2008

 
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