Have you ever been in person to places named after
our black people? I have never been to those places. If you
have, you’ve taken a glimpse of history. So in speaking
about this, Our Black HIstory is a world of things, a mosaic
set up as beautiful art. It’s definitely something worth downloading
into our minds.Like other places, Our Black people have
played the most important role in the history of King
County. Many of our black people have had parks
and buildings named after them.
William Grose, A Black man first arrived in Seattle.
He voyaged to Asia, Arctiv and Central America. He
panned gold in California and helped run an underground
railroad. He also owned a famous hotel Yesler WayHotel
and was one of Seattle’s biggest landowners.
And guess where it is located? It is located
between 30th and 31st Avenues East
Between East Howell and East Denny Streets.
William Grose park can be described as
serene as a beautiful ocean and quiet as well.
Other features of the park are the grassy sloping
banks, cedar trees, and a pathway with benches.
Powell Barnett, another one of our Black people
who has a place named in his honor mined coal
and played in a local band. He worked in both
road and hotel construction. After a while, he worked
as a clerk to a state senator. Also, he was an
employee for King County Department of Construction
and Facilities Management. He joined a Musician’s
Union that was majority white.
The location of the place is between East Jefferson and
East ALder on Martin Luther King Jr Way. Going over
4 acres, Powell Barnett Park features recreation
facilities, a greatly shaded picnic area, a pathway
in circle form and a hilltop corner with benches and
Henrietta Mathews, a black woman who tutored
black students, counseled single mothers,
spoke out for senior citizens,etc. She committed
herself to 25 years of service in Seattle. During
a specific time, she was a probation officer for
King COunty Youth Services. After 1959, she
worked as a family services caseworker and a coordinator
for the Seattle Public School District. For a long time,
she devoted plenty of time to helping those disadvantaged.
For her distinguished service in social welfare, it
fits that the public place neamed for Gideon
Mathews Gardens, a landscaped 45 unit
housing complex for low income seniors
and the disabled both. This building can be
found at 24th Ave South and South Jackson Street,
the facility opened its doors in 1986. It is named also
for RUssell S. Gideon, one of our Black people who pioneered
Dr. Blanche Sellers Lavizzo, was an African
American who was a friend and schoolmate of
Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Blanche started
practicing pediatrics in Seattle in 1956. She
was a pioneer in children’s healthcare, offering
gifts of time, medical talent and her love for serving
the Central Area community. Dr. Lavizzo was the
first Medical Director of Odessa Brown when
the clinic opened in 1970.
What says ALOT more about her is that two
places were named in her honor. Dr. Blanche Lavizzo
Park is a relaxing and secluded pathway between
South Jackson Street and East Yesler Way at
22nd Avenue South with trees that shade, a picnic
area with grills and a location for concerts and
community events. THe Dr. Blanche Lavizzo Water
Play Area at the Edwin T. Pratt Park is an imaginative
sculpture fountain featuring African motifs created
by local African American artists. ANy of these sound
familar?Ofcourse visuals always help to understand
history. Some people learn better from hearing and
others are visual.