Baseball Beyond Borders (BBB), a Kent-based organization that uses baseball as a tool to increase opportunity and support academic excellence for student-athletes of color, released its first documentary, Reconciliation Tour, in September. The film centers on baseball’s healing power through community building and the athletes’ shared experiences while paying homage to the sport’s historic role in the fight for civil rights and its place in Black American culture. Made in partnership with local Black media production company Converge, the documentary follows 21 BBB members on a trip to the South.
On Feb. 8, members of the Seattle Student Union and the Seattle Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators gathered at the John Stanford Center during a Seattle Public School Board meeting advocating Black Lives Matter at School demands that include the implementation of restorative justice and ending zero-tolerance discipline, the hiring of more Black teachers, the requirement of both Black history/ethnic studies curriculum for K–12, and funding additional counselors while permanently banning police in schools.
As far as welcoming committees go, it’s hard to beat Michelle and Barack Obama. So, it’s a surprise to see Michelle — or at least a cutout of her — standing inside the rear entrance of the Columbia City Theater. Just to her right, playing on a nearby TV screen, a recorded Barack delivers the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, a moment that would propel him to national prominence and preview the oratorical skills that enchanted millions during his presidency.
Black History Month is well underway. The annual celebration conceived by historian Carter G. Woodson began in 1926 as a time to honor Black resistance and raise awareness of Black history.
A wide range of events are happening throughout Seattle, uplifting Black histories, stories, and brilliance. These commemorations include educational events, workshops, art exhibitions, and an entirely new museum organized by Rainier Avenue Radio, showcasing the achievements and celebrating Black historical figures particular to the Pacific Northwest.
Listed below are some events around the Seattle area to honor and learn from the vast history of Black culture, identity, and excellence.
As the product of the Great Migration, a historical period in American history where millions of African American citizens left all they knew and took all they had from the Jim Crow South to cities up North in hopes of a better life, my grandmothers took their rightful place in that movement in hopes of a Promised Land that wasn’t always so promising for them. What was stronger than the reality of that promise was the hope they brought with them. They came with hopes that one day their kids and grandchildren could reap the future benefits of their elders being uprooted.
Some of those benefits can be felt in the work of Black & Tan Hall, highlighted along with local Black history in the upcoming Seattle Green Book Self-Guided Tour app coming in March.
“Resistance, Resilience, Remembrance, and Liberation”: poetic words straight from the heart of multiple award winner, community scholar, ethnomuseumologist, and second-generation storyteller Delbert Richardson. His soulful words describe the theme of his upcoming installation, “American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths,” which will open at the ARTS at King Street Station Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021, and continue through Jan. 15, 2022.
“My work is primarily geared for children and young adults,” Richardson shared. “No professional development, no white teachers. It’s really around identity development and self-actualization for Black kids, right? When we think about slavery and, historically, our story starting from 1619, then that becomes the placeholder of who we are and how we see ourselves and how we allow ourselves to be seen. So, I was determined to challenge that narrative. That’s what my museum does. It challenges that narrative based on my own story.”
In Lisa Myers Bulmash’s home, a new item commemorates her contest winner status — a cerulean pageant sash. The phrase “Miss Thang 2021” is written across it, and a rhinestone-encrusted safety pin ensures it stays in place. Bulmash can’t help but laugh when she talks about her husband’s playful gift.