Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Olympic Club History Pub

Black Pioneers of the Pacific Northwest

Olympic Club - Olympic Club Theater

6 pm doors, 7 pm program

Free. First come, first served. Arrive early!

All ages welcome

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Qualifies for “Attend a McMenamins History-Sponsored Event” Experience Stamp.

Why not stay the night too? Mention you’re attending the History Pub for 15% off your hotel room.

About Black Pioneers of the Pacific Northwest

Black Pioneers of the Pacific Northwest

Presented by Dr. Quintard Taylor, Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington

Dr. Taylor will present on the experiences and legacy of African American, George Washington, who founded Centralia and was instrumental in its early development and progress. Washington’s story will be told against the backdrop of the region’s slavery debate and the accomplishments and unusual conditions faced by Washington Territory’s other early prominent black settlers.

George Washington was a prominent pioneer in the state named, like he was, for America's first president.  He founded Centralia in southwest Washington and was a leading citizen and benefactor of the town.  Washington's father was a slave, his mother of English descent.  When his father was sold soon after his birth in Virginia, his mother left him with a white couple named Anna and James Cochrane (or Cochran), who raised him in Ohio and Missouri.  At the age of 33, Washington joined a wagon train and headed west with the Cochranes, seeking to escape discriminatory laws.

In 1852 he staked a claim on the Chehalis River in what was then Oregon Territory. Because Oregon law prohibited settlement by African Americans, Washington had the Cochranes file the claim. After Washington Territory was created, they deeded the property to him.

When he was in his fifties, Washington married widow Mary Jane Cooness (or Cornie).  In January 1875, the Washingtons platted a town, which they called Centerville, on their property.  The name was changed to Centralia in 1883.  The Washingtons provided land for a Baptist church, cemetery, and public square (now George Washington Park). 

Washington's wife died in 1888, but he continued to play a leading role in the growing town.  In the depression following the Panic of 1893, Washington helped keep Centralia afloat.  He distributed food to those in need, lent money without interest, and did not foreclose mortgages he held.  Washington remained active in civic affairs until shortly before his death at age 88. 

About the Speaker:

Quintard Taylor is the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington and as such he holds oldest endowed chair at the University.  He is the author of The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era, and In Search of the Racial Frontier: African Americans in the America West, 1528-1990.  His Dr. Sam: Soldier, Educator, Advocate, Friend, An Autobiography, which Taylor co-authored with the late university administrator and career army officer, was released in the summer of 2010. 

Taylor is also the author of over fifty articles. His work on African American Western History, African American, African, Afro-Brazilian, and comparative ethnic history has appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly, Pacific Historical Review, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Journal of Negro History, Arizona and the West, the Western Journal of Black Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic Studies.  He is also editor of the Race and Culture in the West Series for the University of Oklahoma Press. Twelve titles have appeared in the series  since its launch in 2007.  A link to the complete list of books in the series appears below.

On February 1, 2007, Taylor and other volunteers created an online website resource center for African American history called BlackPast.org (www.blackpast.org).  The center houses over 13,000 pages of information and features contributions by more than 700 scholars from six continents.  It is now the largest reference centers of its type on the Internet.  In 2017 4.4 million people from more than 160 nations visited the website.  Since its February 2007 launch, more than 25 million people have accessed information from the pages of BlackPast.org.

In October, 2011, Taylor completed his one-year term as the 50th President of the Western History Association (WHA). On June 30, 2015 Taylor retired as a full-time professor at the University of Washington although he still teaches part-time and still holds the Bullitt Chair. Taylor has taught at universities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nigeria over his 46-year career in higher education. In April 2017 Taylor received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Historians’ Guild and in September 2017 he received the Robert Gray Medal for his Lifetime Contribution to Pacific Northwest History from the Washington State Historical Society.

Race and Culture in the West Series for the University of Oklahoma Press:


UW Faculty Website:

About Olympic Club History Pub

Olympic Club History Pub

These monthly, free events are open to everyone interested in Oregon and Pacific Northwest history. Co-sponsored by like-minded historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers and historians who expound on topics from Lewis and Clark to shipwrecks, hop growing to women pioneers and far, far beyond. It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp