112 N. Tower Ave. / Centralia, WA, 98531
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Olympic Club History Pub
Olympic Club - Olympic Club Theater
6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. program
All ages welcome
6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. programFreeAll ages welcome
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
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
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.
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
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