Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Olympic Club History Pub

Black History is All Around Us: George Washington of Centralia and the 19th Century African Americans who Settled Washington Territory

Olympic Club - Olympic Club Theater

6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. program

Free admission

All ages welcome

About Black History is All Around Us: George Washington of Centralia and the 19th Century African Americans who Settled Washington Territory

Black History is All Around Us: George Washington of Centralia and the 19th Century African Americans who Settled Washington Territory

Co-sponsored by: Centralia College, Centralia Library
Presented by: Dr. Quintard Taylor

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.

From BlackPast.org (of which Quintard Taylor is a member of the Board of Directors):

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:

Dr. 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.  

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 2016 4.4 million people from more than 200 nations visited the website.  Since its February 2007 launch, more than 20 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.

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