The Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc. was first proposed in 1977 and became incorporated in 1982. Preserving, collecting and sharing the history of African Americans in Washington State are the priorities that shape the BHS mission.
BHS collections are a protected resource and public asset that archives the past and present to inform the future. The Society recognizes the importance for documenting the culture and heritage of Black people statewide, and upholds the notion that Washington State history is an essential link in the broader narrative that defines the story of our nation.
Preserving our past ~ Informing our future
The Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.
is a registered 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Ensuring the Safety of Our Community, Visitors, and Volunteers
In accordance with Washington State and King County public health authorities’ recommendations regarding the COVID-19 crisis, BHS archives is temporarily closed to the public. We are still responding to inquires and requests via our website contact form. Until the time when BHS can resume visitor services, continue to visit the website, sign up for the E-News, and stay safe.
Edwin T. Pratt_1955_ Pratt Legacy Collection_Property of BHS
Remembering Edwin T. Pratt
(December 6, 1930 – January 26, 1969)
With visible presence through the charged activism of Seattle’s civil rights movement, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle was led by the calm, strategic wisdom of Edwin T. Pratt. Under his direction the Urban League grew by leaps and bounds as an influencer alongside leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Central Area Civil Rights Committee (CACRC) . Pratt led from the Urban League to support the proposal and program development for the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP), now named Byrd Barr Place . A staunch advocate for equity in housing, jobs, and schools, Pratt was instrumental in the develop of the Triad Plan, a proposal to integrate Seattle Public Schools.
On January 26, 1969, Pratt was assassinated by an unknown assailant on the doorstep of his home in Shoreline, WA. To this day, the crime remains unsolved. On his death, the community campaigned to name a Seattle park at 17th Ave and E Yesler Way Pratt Park in his honor, and the nearby art center was dedicated as the Pratt Fine Arts Center. In 2019, through the efforts of a Shoreline community campaign led by 11 yr old Sarah Haycox, the school district voted to name a new center the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center.
Read More About Edwin T. Pratt.
In 2019, BHS was the recipient of the Edwin T. Pratt Legacy Collection that contains family photos, ephemera, documents and letters that give insight into the life and times of Edwin T. Pratt and his wife, Bettye. BHS manages the collection as a public asset. More than 400 items were recently digitized in partnership with VisualCognetics and funded by King County 4Culture. Contact BHS for access to the collection.
Below is a StoryCorps recording between Miriam Pratt and Jean Soliz.
Black History Month 2021
Photo: Eddie Rye and Fred Brown_Black Community Festival Parade_Seattle,WA_1982
-courtesy Keith Williams/Flyright Productions
BHS co-presented program
When History Is Your Story
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 6:30pm
How does history shape who you are? Hear from community members inspired by moments from local Black history that impact their present lives. When History Is Your Story features places, people, and legacies shared by Eddie Rye (Empire Way to MLK,Jr. Way), Ryan Donaldson (genealogy research and Roslyn,WA mining family), and Chardonnay Beaver (generational bond and media family dedicated to community).
Virtual Program ~ Free Registration HERE
In January 2021
BHS joining in Support of
The Holocaust Center for Humanity
in Commemoration of
International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Dear Erich: A Jazz Opera by Ted Rosenthal
Join the Holocaust Center for Humanity for a special one of a kind virtual performance on Wednesday, January 27th at 6:00 pm PT to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Ted Rosenthal, composer and jazz pianist, will perform excerpts from his jazz opera, Dear Erich, with two Seattle area opera singers.
Click here to register and learn more