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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 advocates for saving places to uphold 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

Access to the Archive

BHS Jacqueline E.A. Lawson Resource Center and archive are now open for public access.
*Ask about health and safety protocols as all are subject to change.
Visits are by appointment only on Fridays 11:30am-2:30pm.  

Resource Center Message Phone: 206 324-1126 x190
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 28647 Seattle, WA 98118
Physical Address by Appointment: 5933 6th Ave S Seattle, WA 98108



at The Wing Luke Museum

The Wing Luke Museum is temporarily closed as the museum leadership works in good faith to resolve an employee walk out that is a result of their concerns related to exhibition content. We respect the process for a mutual way forward. As a partner in CHT with The Wing Luke Museum and Washington State Jewish Historical Society our purpose was organized out of unity in the challenge against bias, bigotry, racism and hate, and a call for action to combat the harms across all communities. All remains the same at BHS and we are proud of our contributions to the exhibition and thank all who supported the historical content on behalf of BHS.

Harm and hate is not isolated to one community or group of people. Historically, we understand at BHS that looking away from harms can incite and embolden those who fuel and deliver it. It is with this and empathy for all humanity, that we stand against all that seeks to divide, demean, and harm us.

A joint statement crafted by the CHT partners
on May 29, 2024 is below.

After deep consideration and reflection, the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, the Washington State Jewish Historical Society, and the Wing Luke Museum have, in solidarity, agreed to proceed with the Confronting Hate Together exhibit. We will relaunch the exhibit with the goal of June 30, 2024 to make additions to the content by offering additional framing on its genesis, the initial public reaction, and the history of our communities working together. 

The goal, when we began planning in early 2023, was to build an exhibit focused on the activism and responses to hate and discrimination taken by three communities, which historically overlap and intersect in their experiences living within the highly discriminatory Redline boundary of Seattle. 

We remain committed to the exhibit’s core message of confronting hate. We acknowledge the complexity of this deeply challenging work. We understand that the bigotry, bias, and racism that affects our communities goes well beyond us to touch many. Though recent events have caused significant harm, we are undeterred. We are open to learn from each other, hear each other’s stories, and strive toward a world with no hate. By acknowledging the complexity of this work, the intent was and is to encourage others to have open, inclusive conversations that come from our understanding and empathy for one another.

The Wing Luke Museum is making plans to reopen operations. We ask for grace and understanding as we navigate this process to move forward with the Confronting Hate Together exhibit.

Listen to the CHT Podcast series

podcast series – episode 1 here
Community Members Talk About Confronting Hate
Mayor Bruce Harrell – Pastor Carey Anderson
Washington State Representatives
Sharon Tomiko Santos and Tana Senn



South Shore K-8 Library Renamed for Librarian, Historian, Author, and BHS Life Member
Mary T. Henry.
Congratulations, Mary!

Photo: Mary Henry (right) with Carol Peoples-Procter and Gertrude Peoples
at the Library Dedication on April 19, 2024.


Converge Media is documenting Washington State Black History.

Miss Jessa Thomas, 2024 Miss Teen Rodeo Washington State.
Watch the trailer – Facing the Reign – with more to follow soon.

Photo: Queen Jessa Thomas with Besa Gordon for Converge Media.
Coronation Event_Cle Elum, WA_ March 2024
Making history as Washington State’s first African-American Miss Teen Rodeo.
BHS is proud to support Miss Thomas’ reign.



African American History App developed at Washington State Historical Society.
Tap into Washington State stories, landmarks, and icons.
Guess What? There’s a feature that allows YOU to add to this resource.

Check it out and get the App here.


Community Landmarks Cohort at BHS

Cohort members with BHS President, Stephanie Johnson-Toliver are
Chardonnay Beaver, Ethelmarie Hubbard, Ariel Paine,
Kennesha Poe-Buycks, and Mercedes Robinson
Also pictured are consultants Taha Ebrahimi, Zola Mumford, and Jackie Peterson

with Taelore Rhoden, Historic Seattle Community Events Mgr.

BHS in partnership with Historic Seattle is proud to introduce the Community Landmarks Cohort. A successful 2022 donor campaign is funding awareness and skills-building for understanding the process to nominate African American heritage sites.
The series was funded in part by King County 4Culture.

Did you know that less than 2% of Seattle landmarks are relevant to
African American history and legacies?


Photo courtesy of BHS Member William Krossen

Renew your annual membership or
become a new member today.

Your membership sustains the archive and supports community outreach.
Membership levels available.
You can join now on the website or by mail:
Black Heritage Society of Washington State
P. O. Box 28647 
Seattle, WA  98118
Thank You for supporting Washington State Black History.

 Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.
 is a registered 501 c 3 nonprofit

BHS Supporting Organizations

BHS Affiliations