Washington State Historical Society activities for all ages to participate in Black History Month, online and in person – The Suburban Times

Washington State History Museum announcement.

The Black Travelers Green Book, Travel and Vacation Guide. Compiled and published by Victor H. Green, 1954. Washington State Historical Society Collection, Catalog ID 2017.2.105.

Tacoma, WA – Black History Month is an opportunity to explore the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans in our past and to honor those in our present. You can explore stories and make connections through online and in-person activities with the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS), including:

Ed Selden carpet one

  • Take part in a special event at MOHAI on February 19: “The Green Book – More than a guide”. The Negro Motorist Green Book has been hailed as the “black travel bible”. First published in 1936, the guide identified establishments deemed friendly, safe, and willing to serve black travelers during the era of Jim Crow segregation and “sunset towns.” This event applies a contemporary perspective to segregation, black migration and the rise of leisure travel through art, presentations and conversation. Presented by the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Washington State Historical Society, Black & Tan Hall, artist Bonnie Hopper and producer Chris Hopper. Included with admission to MOHAI.
  • Visit a FREE online exhibit and try your hand at a guided art activity. Take a look through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visits Seattleon the WSHS website. Learn about Dr. King’s visit to Washington State in 1961 as well as the history of civil rights in Tacoma. Click on “Art Activity with Valencia Carroll” and his video will show you how to create your own Right to Dream star using a downloadable template and materials from around the house.
  • Walk to the Bush family monument on the Capitol campus. Unveiled in November 2021, this new monument honors black pioneer George Bush and his family, who were among the first non-Native settlers in Washington Territory. George and Isabella’s son, William Owen Bush, served in Washington’s first state legislature and helped found the school that became Washington State University. See the monument and the Bush Butternut Tree at Olympia, and learn more about the Bush family at the WSHS website: www.washingtonhistory.org/across-washington/washington-black-history-project.
  • Try a civil rights activity for kids at the History Museum. Review a self-guided civil rights activity for kids and visit the Washington State History Museum to find answers in the exhibit Washington: My home. This activity sheet is available at the museum entrances.
  • Read more about Nettie Craig Asberry, a civil rights activist and suffragist who lived in Tacoma. Among other accomplishments, Asberry became president of the Washington State Federation of Colored Women and was one of the founders of the Tacoma Chapter of the NAACP. Download the article (free) from the WSHS website: www.washingtonhistory.org/columbia-magazine.
  • Next month – Going deep The Negro Motorist’s Green Book from March 19 when the Washington State History Museum opens the immersive exhibit,ccreated by the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) and curated by Candacy Taylor, a leading Green Book scholar and award-winning author, photographer and documentarian. This multimedia experience shares the rich history of the national guide through photographs, art installations, interactive objects, historical objects and recordings of travelers and green book business owners. It also focuses on the dynamic parallel world of African American business and the rise of the black leisure class. Details at www.washingtonhistory.org/exhibits. Before seeing the exhibition, you can explore SITES online Green Book Experiences free! Details: negromotoristgreenbook.si.edu/index.html The exhibit was based on Candacy Taylor’s book, Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in Americaavailable at the Tacoma Library.

Black History Month has been officially recognized since 1976, but its roots date back to 1915 when renowned scholar and historian Carter G. Woodson participated in events marking the 50and Illinois emancipation anniversary. He was among more than ten thousand visitors who lined up to see exhibits showcasing the notable achievements of black Americans since the destruction of slavery. Motivated to shine a light on the continuing contributions and history of the black community, Woodson began publishing the Journal of Negro History in 1916 and collaborated with other organizations, including his Omega Psi Phi fraternity, to create a week officially recognizing black achievements. They launched Black History Week in February 1926. Nurtured by Woodson’s organization, his colleagues, and black students and communities, the week-long annual event grew and by the 1960s, the longer Black History Month had begun to replace Black History Week. In 1976, the change became official. Each year there is a theme; this year it’s Black Health and Wellness. Black History Month is an opportunity to explore how history connects us all.

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