Welcome to the Northwest Room's Black History Research Guide
This guide compiles resources related to the Black history in Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest. Each listing includes links to a catalog record or to digitized material including maps, documents, images, audio, and video recordings. Select any of the blue-colored text to access the links. Links in bold indicate that the item described has been digitized and is available to view online. This guide is continually expanding so please check back regularly. If you have questions about this guide, please reach out to us at (253) 280-2814 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digitized items in the Northwest ORCA database are grouped under the subject heading Communities -- Black Community.
Early Pacific Northwest and American West Black History
• African American Women Confront the American West, 1600-2000 by Quintard Taylor and Shirley Ann Wilson Moore
• Black Pioneers Images of the Black Experience on the North American Frontier by John W. Ravage
• Dangerous Subjects by Kenneth R. Coleman
• A History of Blacks in the Pacific Northwest, 1788-1970 by Quintard Taylor
• Page 16, "Black Pioneers of Tacoma” in, A History of Pierce County, Washington, Vol. 3, by Heritage League of Pierce County
• Tacoma, Northwest Black Pioneers a Centennial Tribute by Ralph Hayes
Tacoma Black History
• Who We Are an Informal History of Tacoma's Black Community Before World War I by Gary Fuller Reese
• The Tacoma Green Book Directory of Tacoma by Tacoma City Association of Colored Women's Club, c.1960
• Helen Stafford Papers Helen Cecile Beck Stafford (1899-2002) was a long-time community and civil rights advocate in Tacoma.
• Tacoma Residential Security (Redlining) Map, 1929 Ed., Updated 1937 by Nicholson Engineering Co., 1929 Ed.
• Census and History of Tacoma and Pierce County Negros, State of Washington, June 1929 Edited by H. McElroy Stovall. A directory of business places and professional people who were supportive of Black patronage in Tacoma and Pierce County
• Black Lives Matter Mural Project Collection , A collection of photographs, planning documents, and interviews related to the creation of a Black Lives Matter mural in Tollefson Plaza in 2022.
• Charles Carson Papers , Charles Carson (1970-) is a local speaker, organizer, and musician. In 1989, he began working with Safe Streets to develop programs for local at risk youth impacted by drugs and violence in Tacoma.
• Paul Jackson Digital Videos , Paul Jackson, PhD (1968-) is a local speaker, digital media author, and filmmaker.
• Since I Been Down, DVD, directed by Gilda Sheppard
• Oral history interviews recorded by the Community Archives Center with Isadore Wallace, Juanita Olivas, Cynthia Tucker, Reverend Bob Penton, Jamika Scott, Bernice Morehead, Shondea Chapman, Regyna Frazier, and Alfonso Brown.
• Clippings and Reference Files
-----Tacoma - African Americans
-----Tacoma - Neighborhoods - Hilltop
-----Tacoma - Biography - Asberry, Nettie (African American leader, music teacher, and centenarian who helped found the Tacoma NAACP)
-----Tacoma - Biography - Conna, John (Tacoma African American pioneer)
-----Tacoma - Biography - Stafford, Helen (Helen Cecile Beck Stafford was a community and civil rights advocate in Tacoma)
Tacoma’s Black-Owned Newspapers
• The Forum, (1903-1918) Founded by John Ryan in 1903. Published by Ella Ryan after 1906.
• Progress Messenger (March 13—May 26, 1970) [ Found on Microfilm “Pierce County Miscellaneous #5”]
• The Tacoma Facts (November 27, 1970-April 2, 2008) A weekly newspaper primarily focused on issues of relevance to Tacoma's Black community.
• Tacoma True Citizen (February 19—March 11, 1976) Published by W. Larry Williams
• Northwest Dispatch (1990-1998) Founded by Virginia Taylor. A weekly newspaper primarily focused on issues of relevance to Tacoma's Black community.
Tacoma NAACP Chapter
• Clippings and Reference Files
-----Tacoma - African Americans - NAACP
-----Tacoma - African Americans - NAACP - Newsletters
-----Tacoma - African Americans - NAACP – Photographs
Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective
• Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective Records
• Video Recording of Meeting Between Norm Rice, Karen Vialle, and the Black Collective
Black Panthers in the Pacific Northwest
• All My Somedays: Voices from Black Family Albums
• My 48 Years Walking with the Lord: 1952-2000, by Reverend Dr. Joseph Andrew Boles of the St. John Baptist Church
• Fighting for Dreams That Mattered by Harold Moss Tacoma's first Black mayor
• Civil Rights and Civic Pride; the Story of Harold G. Moss and the City of Tacoma by Alison Henderson Sonntag
• Dr. Sam, Soldier, Educator, Advocate, Friend; An Autobiography by Kelly, Samuel E. (Samuel Eugene)
Washington and Pacific Northwest Black History
• Black Spokane the Civil Rights Struggle in the Inland Northwest by Dwayne Mack
• Black Americans and the Civil Rights Movement in the West by Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz
• Lillian Walker, Washington State Civil Rights Pioneer a Biography & Oral History, Walker (1914-2012) was the recording secretary of the Puget Sound Civic Society, a civil rights coalition formed by the newly chartered Bremerton, WA branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
• Chapter 3, "Washington’s African American Communities", p.75-113 in, Peoples of Washington; Perspectives on Cultural Diversity, edited by Sid White and S.E. Solberg
• Section 2, Chapter IX, “There Was No Better Place to G; African American Migration 1940-1950", by Quintard Taylor in, Terra Northwest: Interpreting People and Place by David H. Stratton
• Trailblazing Black Women of Washington State by Marilyn Morgan
• Washington's Negro Pioneer: George Washington Bush, by The Seattle Congress of Racial Equality
Seattle and King County Black History
• Calabash: A Guide to the History, Culture, and Art of African Americans in Seattle and King County, Washington, by Esther Hall Mumford
• Dr. Sam, Soldier, Educator, Advocate, Friend; An Autobiography by Samuel E. Kelley, Dr. Samuel E. Kelly was hired as the first vice president for the newly formed Office of Minority Affairs at the University of Washington in 1970. Also, the first African American senior administrator at the UW, Dr. Kelly was an educational advocate who opened doors for hundreds of underrepresented students at the UW.
• The Forging of a Black Community; Seattle's Central District, From 1870 Through the Civil Rights Era by Quintard Taylor
• Seattle's Black Victorians, 1852-1901, by Esther Hall Mumford
• Seattle in Black and White the Congress of Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity by Joan Singer
• Black Names in America: Origins and Usage, by Newbell Niles Puckett
• Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy, by James M. Rose
• Family Pride: the Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy, by Donna Beasley
• Finding Your People: An African-American Guide to Discovering Your Roots, by Sandra Lee Jamison
• A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record your Unique Heritage, by Franklin Carter Smith