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 future generations. 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.
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Photo: Noodles Smith with friends_Seattle, WA_ca.1935
-Property of Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.
As BHS works to expand its outreach by sharing stories, memories and legacies that illuminate the history of Washington State black people, we are in partnership with Africatown Media, a Seattle based production team at Africatown-Central District. Africatown Media serves to inform the community through its thousands of followers. BHS is building a library of history shares that are posted weekly on Africatown-Central District facebook and shared on BHS fb in addition to other outlets. The library is archived and updated on the Africatown-Central District website. Check it out!
BHS COLLECTIONS UPDATES
Jonathan ‘Wordsayer’ Moore (1969-2017)
Jonathan Moore with oldest son, Upendo.
Known as Seattle’s “hip-hop ambassador” and “cultural mayor”, Moore was influential in the Northwest hip-hop scene and founded the group Source of Labor in 1989. Moore was born in Seattle, and is a legend on both the local and national level. He leaves a passionate, devoted and visionary legacy on the music scene and in his personal life.
In 2019, it was our privilege to receive and complete the accession of the Jonathan Moore Legacy Collection into the BHS archives. We wish to thank Jon’s mother and extended family for their cooperation to complete the cataloging. It is a collection of numerous photos, ephemera and journals that let us understand his commitment to family and community, and gives insight to his musical genus.
At BHS we are preserving the history that shapes and informs us.
Ask us about access to the Jonathan Moore Legacy Collection.
Edwin T. Pratt (1930-1969)
In 2017 it was our honor at BHS to acquire the Edwin T. Pratt Legacy Collection by generous donation of Mr. Pratt’s daughter and liaised by her godmother. The collection contains photographs, letters, handwritten speeches and other memorabilia that gives insight into the life and legacy of Mr. Pratt, a dedicated public servant, advocate for social justices and upon his death, Executive Director at the Seattle Urban League.
A video resource that shares the story of Pratt’s leadership at the Seattle Urban League during the 1960s Seattle Civil Rights Movement is currently in production for release by late 2020. BHS will share the video on this website but in the meantime, please enjoy the short piece below produced by Pratt Fine Arts Center located in Seattle’s Central Area. A link is also provided to an essay, Edwin T. Pratt: Excellence and Opportunity commissioned by Pratt Fine Arts Center and written by author, Nancy Rawles.