Photo Essay: ROOTS marks 46 years of celebration

by Susan Fried

The weather was perfect for the 46th Anniversary ROOTS (Relatives of Old Timers of Seattle) Family Picnic, September 2nd at Jimi Hendrix Park. The summer celebration was started in the 1970s as a way to bring together some of Seattle’s original Black families and some more recent arrivals. It’s become a tradition where friends and family come together to reminisce about the past, create new memories and honor and appreciate people who are doing good things in the community.  

It’s also a tradition to honor people who have passed away, and this year Seattle’s black community lost some icons.  

The Rev. Patrinell Wright sang a musical tribute to her neighbor, Dr. Rev. Samuel McKinney. Josephine Howell honored business woman and activist DeCharlene Williams and fellow songstress Grace Holden with some of their favorite songs.  

The day was filled with entertainment with spoken word by C.J. Dudley, a dance performance by Northwest Tap, music by the JazzRays and guest performers Sheila “Kay” Blackwell, CT Thompson, Chris LeVaughn and Josephine Howell.

Several community members were honored by the Seattle ROOTS Committee and the Northwest Black Pioneers for their leadership and commitment to Seattle’s African American community including the Reverend Harriet Walden, Mr. Charles Jackson, Mr. Jesse Hagopian and Ms. Adrienne Bailey (posthumously).

Two young women, Mia Brown-Smith and Selamawit  Demile also received community youth awards.

The day ended with everyone dancing to the music of Josephine Howell and the JazzRays.  

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DeCharlene Williams’ family, the Rev. Patrinell Wright honoring the Dr. Rev. Samuel McKinney and the family of Grace Holden release some doves as a tribute to the lives of their loved ones and friend during the 46th Anniversary Roots Family Picnic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Northwest Tap Connection dancers Cipher Goings and Eyoub Endris perform during the 46th Anniversary Roots Family Picnic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A grandmother hold her two granddaughters, two contenders for the youngest person at the annual ROOTS Family Picnic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Chukundi Salisbury Jr. 12, has his picture taken with his Grandmother, the Reverend Harriet Walden after she was recognized by the ROOTS Celebration Committee and the Northwest Black Pioneers for her service to Seattle’s African American Community. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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A little boy dances during a performance by Sheila “Kay” Blackwell, saluting Aretha Franklin at the 46th Roots Family Picnic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Chyee Howell joins the crowd and dances at the end of the 46th ROOTS Family Picnic. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Margaret Hardin, 105, was honored at the 46th ROOTS Family Picnic for being the oldest woman at this years event. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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Josephine Howell dances with some children during the 46th ROOTS Family Picnic at Jimi Hendrix Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Featured Photo: NW Tap Connection performs during the 46th Anniversary Roots Family Celebration September 2 at Jimi Hendrix Park. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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