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The first meeting of the committee that was to become the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc. was held at the home of Esther and Donald Mumford on March 20, 1977. The general purpose was the mutual interest to preserve the history and art of Black people of Washington State. Discussion ensued concerning the geographic scope, fundraising, kinds of articles to collect, methods of collecting, protection of donations, location of a new heritage museum and informing the public of the efforts of this group.

To support the Society’s purpose and to promote public awareness, the Black Heritage Society held the first exhibition entitled A Preview of a Proposed Museum of Black History and Art in September 1977. Events and exhibits over the next decade included Seattle’s Black Women Writers, Roots, Stems and Roses Festival: A Celebration of Black Families in Yakima,  Annual Pioneer Awards Dinner, 100 Years in East Madison, Black Coal Miners in 19th Century Washington State and other milestone celebrations.

Click the decade to learn more of the history.


The Constitution and By- Laws were instituted
The First Annual Meeting and Heritage Tea was held on June 1st at the Central Area Senior Center.


The first Black Heritage Society Newsletter was published in May. The Black Heritage Society of Washington State name was formerly adopted during the June Annual Meeting


The Black Heritage Society participated in the first centennial celebration relating to Black history in Washington State in April. The theme was “100 Years in East Madison based on the 1882 purchase of a twelve-acre tract of land by Seattle pioneer William Grose.
Membership cards were introduced in July. The Black Heritage Society began the quest to have the mini-park being constructed on 30th Avenue between East Denny and East Howell as a memorial for William Grose.The organization was officially incorporated as the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.General Membership Meeting features “Landmarks bearing names of Black People”


The Black Heritage Society exhibited “Seattle’s Black Women Writers, 1900 – 1980″ and “100 Years in East Madison.”
Members sponsored the dedication of William Grose mini-park located on 30th between East Denny and East Howell Streets.


The first Black Heritage Society exhibit at the Douglas Truth Library was “Lifting As We Climb” depicting work of Seattle women from 1889.
Annual Meeting and Heritage Tea celebrates “Black History in Tacoma”
General Membership Meeting celebrates “Toil and Struggle: 100 years of Men’s Work”
President Joe Warner builds exhibit case and donates it to the Douglas-Truth Library for the Black Heritage Society displays.


General Membership Meeting features “Bremerton Celebrates Over 100 Years – A Story Untold”


During the 1990 decade, Black Heritage Society members participated in various community events and exhibits:
In 1996, the African-American Heritage Foundation awarded The Black Heritage Society a grant for the preservation and archiving of the Society’s stored collection of valuable heritage memorabilia. The transfer of The Black Heritage Society’s collection of memorabilia and exhibit materials from its storage site to the Museum of History and Industry was completed.