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Dear Tacoma Project Collection

  • CAC0001
  • 2020 - 2021

Dear Tacoma was a cooperative project undertaken by the Tacoma Public Library's Northwest Room and Grit City Magazine to collect local stories about living during the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched in May 2020, the collection consists of documents such as audio recordings, emails, photographs, and other content submitted by the general public to the library.

Tacoma Public Library

Community Event Collection

  • CAC0003

Includes videos, interviews, and other material gathered by the Community Archives Center at community events.

Paul Jackson Digital Videos

  • CAC1001

Born digital videos created by Tacoma-based filmmaker Paul Jackson, PhD including documentaries, interviews, and recordings of regional meetings and events.

Paul Jackson

Charles Carson Papers

  • CAC1002

Includes writings, photographs, flyers, and other information related to Charles Carson's work as a speaker, musician, and activist.

Charles Carson

Justi Pfutzenreuter Salishan Research Files

  • CAC1003

Includes research files and notes gathered and compiled by Pfutzenreuter related to the Salishan neighborhood. Also included is Justi's "Narratives of Salishan: The Untold Story," a documentary she produced for her Masters Capstone Project in Spring 2019 as part of the University of Washington Tacoma's Masters of Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies program.

The documentary introduction states, "When it comes to Salishan, most of the history that we do know lies in short, unnuanced articles in the Tacoma News Tribune. These articles were, and continue to be, influential in the ways readers view the neighborhood and those who live in it. Written by outsiders who may have preconceived notions, these articles leave no space for residents’ voices and their experiences. Taking this into consideration, the history that we don’t know resides in the minds and memories of those who have lived there, including families that belong to the Puyallup Tribe from whom the land was originally taken. It’s important to examine these perspectives to develop a fuller picture of the neighborhood. Since its origins in 1943, Salishan has had a negative reputation within the larger community. Without the voices of the tenants, negative stereotypes about Salishan will persist. We should ask, 'who’s telling the story?' and 'who’s constructing the narrative of Salishan?' This film project documents the experiences of residents, using their own voices, as an intervention into the dominant negative narrative about Salishan."

Sulja Warnick Papers

  • CAC1004

Includes an oral history with Sulja Warnick along with digital copies of photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence related to Warnick's life and career.

Sulja Warnick

John McCluskey and Rudy Henry Papers

  • CAC1005

Includes photographs taken by photographer Joe Becker of the marriage ceremony of Rudy Henry and John McCluskey, the first same-gender couple to be issued a marriage license in Pierce County. Also includes a slideshow created by Geoff Corso which was shared at the celebration of life ceremony held in memory of John McCluskey and Rudy Henry following their deaths.

John McCluskey and Rudy Henry

Wanda Thompson Papers

  • CAC1006

Includes correspondence, reports, newspaper clippings, photos, and other documents related to Wanda Thompson’s life. Many of the documents pertain to Thompson’s career including her time as a model, job analyst for Puget Sound Bank, employee at the Washington State Department of Corrections, and the Executive Director of the Rehabilitation Council of Washington State. The papers also point to Thompson’s involvement with the community in Tacoma like her engagement with the Afro-Pageant and Show. Also included is an oral history with Wanda Thompson recorded on June 3, 2023.

Wanda Thompson

Radio Tacoma Programs

  • CAC2003

Radio Tacoma (101.9) is an all-volunteer, low-power FM community radio station with a mission "to serve Tacoma and the surrounding area, providing the opportunity for participatory democracy as a venue for local voices, news, and talent that might otherwise not get heard." Their regular programming includes The Cannabis Corner, Climate Talk, and Grit City Stories.

Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective Records

  • CAC2004

Includes video interviews created for the documentary "The Evolution of Collective Wisdom" along with bios of the interviewees. Also included are materials related to the Black Collective's Black History Month programming.

Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective

WILLO (Women's Intergenerational Living Legacy Organization) Records

  • CAC2005

Includes video recordings from WILLO Storytelling Festivals held between 2014 and 2019. Participants include Senator Rosa Franklin, Puyallup Tribal leader Ramona Bennett, writer Tamiko Nimura, Representative Marilyn Strickland, Superintendent Carla Santorno, and WILLO founder Seong Shin.


Hilltop Library Planning Committee Records

  • CAC2006

Includes documents related to the establishment and operations of the Hilltop Library Planning Committee. Also included is an oral history recorded with members and a short video created by the committee.

Hilltop Library Planning Committee

Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council Records

  • CAC2007

Includes studies, reports, newspaper clippings and other documentation related to the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed. Also included are meeting minutes, agendas, educational materials, and operational documents produced by the Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council.

Chambers-Clover Creek Watershed Council

Black Women's Caucus of Washington State, Tacoma Chapter Records

  • CAC2008

Includes event programs, meeting notes, work plans, and publications related to the Tacoma Chapter of the Black Women's Caucus of Washington State. Also included is an oral history interview conducted with four members of the Tacoma Chapter.

Laureate Listening Project Recordings

  • CAC2009

Includes audio recordings from the Laureate Listening Project. This project, organized by Tacoma Poet Laureate Lucas Smiraldo, took place between 2013 and 2015 and recorded community members reflecting on the importance of a particular place in their using through the form of poetry.

Happenings on Hilltop

  • CAC2010
  • 1990 - 2000

Happenings On Hilltop covered a variety of topics such as neighborhood events, other community organizations, housing, education, politics, and recipes. There were many contributors to the newsletter. Community leaders wrote editorials and letters submitted by residents who were incarcerated. It was also a venue for community members to share their art and creative writing. The newsletter also had an emphasis on keeping residents safe in Hilltop. They aimed to educate about and bring awareness to the effects of gang violence and teach residents how to prevent crime. Happenings On Hilltop also advocated for solidarity among the Black community and the fight against racial injustice. Many national events were covered in this newsletter including the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the Million Man March, with focus on local issues such as the police involved death of Kenneth Boyd. Each month Happenings on Hilltop shared pictures of the people, events, and activities that made up the Hilltop community.

Originally titled Tidbits for Ten from December 1990 to May 1991, Happenings on Hilltop was started by two Hilltop residents and representatives from Hilltop Action Coalition (HAC), Larry Norman and Bill Charles. The newsletter was originally printed and circulated for residents who lived in “area Ten” of the Hilltop community. Within six months, Tidbits from Ten became Happenings On Hilltop. The newsletter began as an organizational journal affiliated with the Hilltop Action Coalition. It then became an independent paper published and distributed by creator Larry Norman.

Larry Norman

Black Lives Matter Mural Project Collection

  • CAC3002

Includes oral histories, digital images, and event flyers related to the development and creation of a Black Lives Matter mural produced in Tollefson Plaza in 2022. The mural was created by artists Dionne Bonner, Kenya Adams, Gwen Jones, Charles Taylor, and Breeze and was a collaboration between the Human Rights Commission's Racial Justice and Equity Committee, the Tacoma Arts Commission, and the Tacoma Art Museum.

Franklin Pierce High School Ethnic Studies Interviews

  • CAC4001

Includes interviews conducted by Franklin Pierce High School students for an Ethnic Studies class with teacher Dan Call. Students interviewed family, friends, and other community members about race, racial identity, microaggressions, and discrimination. Interview transcripts created by students have been produced for some audio recordings.

Lincoln High School English Class Interviews

  • CAC4002
  • 2022 - 2023

Interview projects created by Lincoln High School students enrolled in English classes taught by Max Anders. Students chose a person to interview whose voice they felt needed to be heard, transcribed the interview, and added their own reflections.

Tacoma Community History UWT Student Projects

  • CAC4003

In 1990, the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program at the University of Washington Tacoma began offering oral history classes at the undergraduate and graduate level. Primarily led by Professor Michael K. Honey, students enrolled in these courses conducted oral histories that document local churches, labor unions, ethnic communities, neighborhoods, businesses, and civic leaders in Tacoma and the South Puget Sound.