In honor of Black History Month, we are highlighting a few trailblazing women from Washington State who have strengthened our region through their economic, social, political, and civic work. These women, and many others, were exceptional, inspirational, and fearless in ensuring that we have the rights we engage in today. For that, we thank them.

During an era when African Americans were denied the opportunity to freely and fully participate in society, black women and men formed their own networks. They laid the foundation for organizations like the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA branch, which was established in Seattle’s Central Area in 1919 and continues to serve the black community here 100 years later at the East Cherry Branch YWCA.

Timeline showing black women heroes from Washington State history. 1902 - Madame Luella Boyer, Everett's first black female business owner. 1914 - Corrine Carter, Seattle's first black policewoman. 1942 - Florise Speamen & Dorothy West Williams, first black women to work at Boeing. 1975 - Dorothy Hollingsworth, first black woman to serve on a school board in Washington State.

Thanks to all of these women and countless others (too many whose stories remain untold), the region we live in today is a better place. By understanding their history, we can better prepare and take action for the future. To learn more about their stories and local black history, check out the links below.

Cover Image: Girls Reserve, Phyllis Wheatley/ YWCA East Cherry Branch. Courtesy of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State

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Thu, 02/28/2019 - 10:09
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