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.
Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather waking up every morning before the sun came up. I was born in 1969 and in my early years, before my mother married my father, we lived with my grandparents. By the time I was maybe 4 or 5, my grandfather had retired. He had served in World War II in the motor pool in the South Pacific, and then, when he came to Seattle, he got a job at the Naval shipyards down on the piers here in the sound, later working with the transportation department until his retirement in the early ’70s. He came from a family of tenant farmers who migrated to the Northwest from the South who were used to working on the land. Their work ethic never left him.