Some Links For the PNW and Seattle's Civil Rights and Racist History

6/26/2022 6:37 am |

The PNW is viewed as a liberal bastion in the USA these days, thanks to the population centers in our states. But that isn't the whole truth, and it hasn't always been that way. The rural parts of the state are still quite politically conservative and, worse, some areas actively foster white supremacist beliefs. Even the population centers haven't been liberal and civil rights minded until recent history.

Today is the 188th anniversary of the Oregon territory's anti-free black man law, but there are many more recent examples to contend with in this region's history. From the treatment of the local tribes and their citizens, to segregation and racism of other people, to the internment camps, and more.

Some additional reading:

On Jun 26, 1844: Oregon Territory Bans Free Black People

On June 26, 1844, the legislative committee of the territory then known as “Oregon Country” passed the first of a series of “Black exclusion” laws. The law dictated that free African Americans were prohibited from moving into Oregon Country and those who violated the ban could be whipped “not less than twenty nor more than thirty-nine stripes."

The Seattle Civil Rights Movement - Wikipedia's entry regarding Seattle's Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History (a UW project)

Seattle has a unique civil rights history that challenges the way we think about race, civil rights, and the Pacific Northwest. Civil rights movements in Seattle started well before the celebrated struggles in the South in the 1950s and 1960s, and they relied not just on African American activists but also on Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Jews, Latinos, and Native Americans. They also depended upon the support of some elements of the region's labor movement. From the 1910s through the 1970s, labor and civil rights were linked in complicated ways, with some unions and radical organizations providing critical support to struggles for racial justice, while others stood in the way.

Seattle's Ugly Past: Segregation in Our Neighborhoods

Newcomers to Seattle love the variety of neighborhoods. We’re a counterpane of livable places with modest and grand homes often tucked together in a green and pleasant landscape. It’s a residential smorgasbord of cultures, home styles and enclaves, from houseboats to high-rises, bungalows to classic boxes. But that excitement of choice wasn’t always there for everyone. For most of the 20th century, the city was restricted and segregated, if not literally gated.

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