top of page


Here is a collection of diverse media which cover an assortment of those topics mentioned on this site. These were offered from those whom were interviewed and various researchers consisting of audio files, and distributed print media such as newspapers and the like. Enjoy!

  • The Maafa Commemoration
    Coming Soon!
  • Seattle Vocational Institute (SVI) Business Winter festival Featuring:
    2002, 2003 and 2004 Portia Carter director of the Career-links program under the leadership of Dr. Norwood J. Brooks implemented a business festival during the time of Kwanzaa bringing entrepreneurs and the supporting community under a common roof at the old SOIC building serving as SVI. Coming Soon!
  • Seattle Councilman Sam Smith
    Courtesy of the Sam Smith & Family Downloads Coming Soon!
  • Eddie Rye
    Coming Soon!
  • Senator George Fleming
    Courtesy of the Sam Smith & Family 3rd from the left. Download Coming Soon!
  • Judge Charles M. Stokes
    Charles M. Stokes was a significant figure in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) known for his contributions to civil rights and politics. Born in Fredonia, Kansas, Stokes graduated from the University of Kansas Law School in 1931 and moved to Seattle in 1943 to practice law. In 1950, he became the first African-American elected to the Washington State Legislature from King County, representing the 37th District. Stokes was reelected in 1952 and actively supported civil rights legislation, co-sponsoring the Civil Rights Omnibus Bill of 1959. In addition to his legislative work, Stokes initiated the idea of a state lottery in the late 1950s to generate revenue for public programs. He co-founded KZAM-AM, a radio station, and was involved in establishing Liberty Bank. In 1968, Stokes made history again by becoming the first African-American appointed to the Seattle District Court, where he served until his retirement in 1978. He was known for his commitment to community development and diversity within the judiciary. Stokes was a dedicated Republican and participated in national party activities, including speaking at the Republican National Convention in 1952. He received recognition for his leadership, including being named "Outstanding Freshman Legislator" and induction into the National Bar Association Hall of Fame. Charles M. Stokes' legacy as a visionary leader, legislator, and advocate continues to inspire efforts toward equality and justice in the PNW and beyond. The Photograph was contributed by the Charlesd Stokes Family, under the collection efforts of the Seattle Griot Project. The Seattle Griot Project is an initiative of the Washington State Black Legacy Institute.
  • The Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers
    In 1888, Roslyn witnessed a transformative moment as the Northern Pacific Railway brought in approximately 1,000 Black men to work in its coal mines during a strike by white miners. This influx of workers left an indelible mark on the community's history. Situated 85 miles east of Seattle over Snoqualmie Pass and 60 miles west of Yakima, Roslyn, with its mere 1,000 residents, was forever changed. Among these residents were the Craven ancestors, whose deep-rooted commitment to preserving history led them to start showcasing their collected artifacts in the mid-1970s. They actively engaged with schools, events, and exhibitions to illuminate the profound impact and achievements of Afro-American culture, starting in Roslyn and expanding across Washington State. In 1986, Ethel Florence Craven and her family established the Roslyn Black Pioneers. Their mission? To safeguard and share the significant history of Roslyn's Black pioneers. Recognizing the glaring absence of positive Black history in school curriculums, they set out to shine a light on the enduring legacy of African American communities in Washington state. Today, the Roslyn-Northwest Black Pioneers, now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, are steadfast in their dedication to raising awareness of the profound contributions made by Black pioneers in Roslyn and the broader Northwest region. Their mission is clear: promote the rich cultural heritage of African American communities, foster pride—particularly among the youth—and share this proud history and its accomplishments with a broader audience. An integral part of their outreach involves participating in parades across Washington State with historical and educational floats. Additionally, they curate and present Black history exhibits in schools, private institutions, and government agencies, ensuring that this vital narrative is woven into the fabric of our collective understanding.
  • 1st Black Mayor in Washington State, William Amos Craven of Roslyn
    The presence of Black miners in Roslyn can be traced back to 1888 when disgruntled white, miners called for a strike. Dissatisfied with the long working hours, the poor pay, and the lack of safety conditions, the miners, now unionized by the Knights of Labor, demanded changes and took to picketing the mines. The Northern Pacific Railroad, owner of the mines, responded by arranging for James E. Sheppardson to bring in more than 300 African American miners from Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky to work as replacements. It was at that point the greatest surge in the African American population in the territory’s history. William A. Craven was born on September 18, 1938, in Los Angeles, California. He grew up in Roslyn, Washington, where his family had settled. Roslyn had a significant African American population due to the influx of Black miners during a mining strike in 1888. In December 1966, William Craven married Virginia Lee Smith, and they had six children together, becoming integral members of the Roslyn community. William Craven worked as a grave digger and a school janitor in Roslyn. He was a member of the Roslyn city council in the early 1970s. When the position of mayor became available, his fellow council members elected him on June 10, 1975. Roslyn residents elected him mayor on September 16, 1976. Craven received 272 votes out of the 305 cast. He was the first African American elected mayor in the state of Washington, and he served as mayor until 1979. Governor Jay Inslee recognized William Craven's exceptional contributions by declaring February 20, 2021, as "William Craven Day," honoring his legacy of service and leadership. Later that year, on August 7, 2021, a monument was dedicated in Roslyn to immortalize William Craven's impact and achievements. State dignitaries gathered to pay tribute, underscoring his enduring influence on Roslyn's history and the state of Washington. William A. Craven's pioneering role as the first African American mayor in Washington state remains a testament to his enduring legacy, leaving an indelible mark on Roslyn and inspiring future generations to pursue leadership and civic responsibility. The newspaper articles: Tacoma News tribune 8-10-1975, The Medium 8-6-1975 & mayor at the CAMP firehouse were contributed by the Ulysses S. Heath Jr. Family, under the collection efforts of the Seattle Griot Project. The Seattle Griot Project is an initiative of the Washington State Black Legacy Institute.
  • William Ernest McIntosh of Chrysler
    William Ernest McIntosh Jr., known as Mac, was born in Des Moines, Iowa. He embarked on a distinguished career in the automotive industry, spanning thirty years with notable experience in wholesale and retail sectors. After graduating from MacAlester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a bachelor's degree in history and economics in 1972, McIntosh joined Chrysler in 1973. Despite attractive offers from other sectors, McIntosh's passion for automobiles drew him to Chrysler, where he quickly ascended through the ranks. In 1983, McIntosh's career trajectory took a pivotal turn when Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca appointed him manager of the company's Minority Dealership Placement Program (MDPP). Tasked with fostering minority auto dealers, McIntosh wholeheartedly embraced the challenge. Under his leadership, the program thrived, and McIntosh successfully placed twenty-four minority dealerships and secured the twenty-fifth for himself. McIntosh's impact on Chrysler's minority dealership landscape was profound. At the program's inception, Chrysler had only six black-owned dealerships. However, McIntosh's efforts led to the establishment of 64 minority dealerships, 88% of which were profitable—a testament to his unwavering dedication and strategic acumen. In subsequent years, McIntosh's influence continued to grow. He took over North Seattle Chrysler-Plymouth and later acquired Kirkland Chrysler-Jeep in 1995, transforming it into one of the Northwest's premier Chrysler-Jeep dealerships. Beyond his professional achievements, McIntosh was a community leader and advocate for minority representation in the automotive industry. As the past president and co-founder of NAMAD and CMDA, he played a pivotal role in advancing diversity initiatives. McIntosh's contributions were recognized with multiple accolades, including eight years on Black Enterprise's Top 100 Automotive Dealers list and prestigious awards from Chrysler. He was also honored for his exceptional leadership and community service, receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from Blacks in Government, Region X, and the Man of the Year Award from Omega Phi Psi. Throughout his life and career, McIntosh exemplified leadership, integrity, and dedication, leaving an enduring legacy in both business and community spheres.
  • Sankofa Theater's Maafa Experience
    Seattle's Sankofa Theater's Maafa Experience was a profound and captivating portrayal of African American history, encompassing the harrowing journey from the trans-oceanic slave trade to Emancipation. This unique theatrical production, steeped in the concept of Sankofa—meaning to look back and learn in order to move forward—brought together a talented cast of over 100 performers, including local artists, musicians, and singers, alongside individuals from New York and Africa. Under the visionary direction of Justin Emeka and his brothers, the Maafa Experience was a masterful blend of spoken word, live drumming, dance, and visuals that resonated deeply with audiences. The commitment and dedication of the cast were extraordinary, evident in their rigorous six-week rehearsal schedule, with practices held six days a week from 6-10 p.m. This intensive preparation resulted in a polished and moving production that transcended typical community theater. The Maafa Experience not only shed light on the struggles and resilience of African Americans throughout history but also celebrated their rich cultural heritage. Through professional choreography, authentic African drumming, and lavish costumes, the performance achieved a level of artistry that left a lasting impact on its viewers. As the only major African American theater company in the greater Seattle area, Sankofa Theater provided a vital platform for presenting drama from an African American perspective. This annual presentation served as a poignant reminder of the importance of acknowledging and learning from the past while striving for a future anchored in cultural pride and unity. The Maafa Experience was more than just a theatrical production; it was a powerful testament to the transformative potential of art in commemorating history and fostering community connection. Through its compelling storytelling and artistic prowess, the Maafa Experience left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of witnessing this extraordinary performance.
  • The Griot's Oral Story search
    Powell S. Barnett papers, 1967-1968 Powell S. Barnett papers - Archives West (
  • The Griot Report
    Evergreen College Tacoma On May 11th, 2024, the Washington State Black Legacy Institute (WSBLI), the Seattle Griot Project, and digital asset management expert Ryan Donaldson will come together at Evergreen State College for a transformative event celebrating African American heritage. Participants will engage in discussions on archiving and cultural stewardship, highlighting the importance of preserving Black history. Ryan Donaldson's expertise in digital asset management and storytelling will enrich the conversation, emphasizing innovative approaches to heritage preservation. This collaboration aims to empower the community by promoting awareness and actionable steps towards preserving African American history. Through digital strategies and community engagement, WSBLI, the Seattle Griot Project, and Ryan Donaldson will foster a transformative impact within the community, ensuring that future generations inherit a rich legacy of cultural heritage. Stay tuned for updates on this impactful event and future initiatives that continue to celebrate and preserve our shared heritage. The Remnant Project The Seattle Griot Project, an initiative of the Washington State Black Legacy Institute, has embarked on a meaningful collaboration with the Remnant Project, led by Akuyea Karen Vargas of Living Arts Cultural Heritage (LACH), to preserve Indigenous and African American history and heritage across Washington state. This collaboration includes the sharing of preservation techniques, data collection strategies, and even technical resources. Akuyea Karen Vargas, the Founder and Director of Living Arts Cultural Heritage Center, spearheads the Remnant Project, a significant initiative aimed at uncovering and preserving the histories, stories, and cultural artifacts of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities in Kitsap County and nearby areas. This ambitious project involves digitizing and archiving a vast collection of materials, including diaries, recipes, newspapers, photographs, and art, to ensure broader access and educational use. The collaboration between the Seattle Griot Project and the Remnant Project extends to sharing resources, knowledge, and technical expertise. While Akuyea focuses on Kitsap County history at Evergreen, Roger Evans of The Griot Project works diligently in Seattle, Roslyn, and beyond to preserve and share African American heritage. The goals of the Remnant Project resonate deeply with promoting inclusivity, diversity, and equity by amplifying the contributions and experiences of historically marginalized groups. Through storytelling, oral histories, and visual displays, this initiative seeks to foster healing and reconciliation within the community, bridging cultural divides and promoting dialogue. Akuyea Karen Vargas's dedication as a cultural custodian and social justice advocate underscores the mission of LACH and the Remnant Project, emphasizing the importance of preserving and honoring diverse cultural narratives. The Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers The Seattle Griot Project (SGP) completed a documentary feature focusing on the Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers, with support from grants from the Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture, ArtsFund, the Washington State Legislature, and collaborative efforts with Roslyn, Ronald, Cle Elum Heritage Club; Central Washington University Department of Anthropology; and Central Washington University Archives and Special Collections. The documentary explored the purpose, activities, inspiration, and accomplishments of the Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public about its Black pioneers. Notably, the organization created custom historical and educational themed floats for annual Washington parades, including Seafair, over a decade. Their exhibits and programs, featured at schools, churches, and government agencies, celebrated Black culture and history, including King County's Festival Sundiata at Seattle Center. These initiatives were instrumental in fostering pride, encouragement, and self-worth within the Black community, particularly among youth. SGP captured the story of these descendants of enslaved Africans identifying and addressing community needs through creative programs combating racism. SGP's collaboration with Roslyn-Northwest Black Pioneers included documenting historical artifacts, highlighting the importance of preserving and passing down these stories to future generations. Seeking resources from 4Culture, SGP researched and filmed witnesses of the Roslyn-Northwest Black Pioneers' float exhibits from 1987 to 1996, with funds also supporting post-production efforts like editing and color correction. Roger Evans, with SGP and the Washington State Black Legacy Institute, produced a video spotlighting the Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers, featuring footage generously provided by KOMO-TV. This collaborative effort honored the legacy and contributions of Black pioneers, ensuring their stories resonate with audiences for years to come. Black Washington app Black Washington is an app and educational platform that explores the vibrant statewide history of Black Washingtonians through captivating stories, influential icons, and significant landmarks. The Washington State Black Legacy Institute has been contracted to: Research, write, and edit 6 project entries (approximately 350 words each) about the history of various topics for the Black Washington app, with a deadline of May 15, 2024. Identify multimedia assets (images, audio, video, etc.) for use in these entries and acquire necessary permissions for their inclusion in the final product. Maintain oversight of the content and organization of all materials related to the specified entries. This project was successfully completed by May 15, 2024, ensuring that the Black Washington app featured comprehensive and engaging historical content curated by the Washington State Black Legacy Institute. The entries provided a rich exploration of the diverse contributions and experiences of Black Washingtonians throughout history. B.U.I.L.D.'s Juneteenth Celebration 2024 Blacks United in Leadership & Diversity (BUILD) of Washington State has invited the Washington State Black Legacy Institute to present its preservation initiative concerning the Pacific Northwest. The event will take place on June 14, 2024, in Olympia, WA, from 1:30 pm to 5 pm. Location: Olympia Capitol Campus, 103 Capitol Way S, Olympia, WA 98501, on the grounds around Tivoli Fountain. The PDF flyer is for: The Roslyn Northwest Black Pioneers The pics are for the: The Remnant Project Call to Conscience Black History Month Museum | Columbia City Theater, Seattle, WA | February 23, 2023 (
  • Oral History interviews/Scheduled
    coming soon
  • Upcoming Events for The Seattle Griot Project
  • Fundraising
    Coming soon
  • Finding "Hidden Treasures" to share
bottom of page