It appears the extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical. Historians can solely hope when the boundaries of human relations broaden, they don’t contract fairly as a lot.

Solely time will inform how historical past will decide present occasions with its political and racial unrest, however one factor is evident. With the intention to know the place you’re going, you must know the place you’ve been.

Congress handed Public Legislation 99-244 in 1986 designating February as “Nationwide Black (Afro-American) Historical past Month,” and issued a proclamation calling on the individuals of america to watch Black Historical past Month with the suitable ceremonies and actions.

The town of Ellensburg stayed in keeping with that very best, issuing its personal proclamation, which included the next assertion:

“Whereas, we acknowledge the African Individuals who contributed to constructing our local people comparable to the primary black settler, pioneer Frank M. Henson, a Civil Battle veteran who got here to work in Kittitas County as a ranch hand in 1886 and have become an integral a part of the group; the congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church established in 1908;

“John Golden, a veteran of the Spanish American Battle’s ninth Calvary, baggage grasp on the Ellensburg Northern Pacific Railroad depot, and one of many first to combine Washington state baseball in 1906; and Roslyn’s William Craven, Washington state’s first African American elected as mayor in 1975; and Whereas, the Metropolis of Ellensburg acknowledges and honors the various African Individuals residing herein who contribute to the power and vibrancy of our numerous group.”

Kittitas County isn’t at a loss for Black pioneers:

• James Gratton: one of many first Black pioneers of Kittitas Valley.

• Jimmy Claxton: the primary Black ballplayer to combine skilled baseball.

• James Shepperson: labor recruiter who introduced greater than 2,000 African Individuals to Cascade coal mines.

• Sgt. John Golden: a Spanish American Battle veteran within the ninth Cavalry.

As Black Heritage Month involves a detailed, native historian and Kittitas County Historic Museum director Sadie Thayer, who was instrumental in writing town proclamation, was ok to share her analysis on two ladies who had been the primary to come back by way of the Ellensburg Excessive College within the early Nineteen Twenties.

Eunice Taylor and Alberta Shelby didn’t climb mountains or swim extensive rivers, lead a motion or rise up and be counted in historic trend. They had been simply two younger ladies dwelling in a predominantly white society making their method throughout arduous instances previous to America’s Nice Despair (1929-39).

“Eunice Taylor and Alberta Shelby had been the primary two African American college students recognized within the Klahiam, which is the Ellensburg Senior Excessive College Yearbook,” Thayer unhappy. “The yearbook exhibits these younger ladies in 1920-21. It says they accomplished their schooling and graduated as seniors. They grew up throughout arduous instances resulting in the Nice Despair.”

There isn’t any method of figuring out what their experiences had been at school or amongst their classmates. However the two Black ladies in a sea of white faces within the yearbook appears to talk for itself. Eunice and Alberta lived on the sting of what was referred to as the Restricted District at 402 South Foremost Road. The Restricted District as soon as had residents of African American, Chinese language, Japanese, and Native American respectable.

In its heyday, the Restricted District was a three-block by seven-block district starting from its japanese border on Pearl Road to Water to the west, from Third Avenue south to Manitoba and the railroad tracks. It was roughly bounded by the New York Café to the Cascade Lumber Mill, a former woolen mill.

Remnants of the previous district are nonetheless seen, although their unique function could have been misplaced to historical past. The small properties on Water and Capitol are a number of the oldest constructions within the neighborhood.

“There have been additionally two younger boys listed within the yearbook in 1931 — Eddie Robertson and Nathaniel Porter — that had been associated, cousins, I believe. Nathaniel and Edward had been concerned in monitor and basketball and ended up going to Central Washington School of Schooling (Central Washington College),” Thayer mentioned. “They had been all raised by Namie Evans Taylor Robertson, who was the final reverend on the African Methodist Episcopal Church (at 404 S. Foremost).

“Namie, who was the reverend on the AME Church for 25 years, was their foster mom. They had been all raised in the identical family. I think they had been all members of the AME congregation.”

Nathaniel and Eddie had been additionally concerned in drama at Central, together with a 1936 manufacturing referred to as “Unto Such Glory,” on the Little Theater at Barge Corridor. It was nicely obtained, in line with the scholar newspaper, The Campus Crier.

“This Little Theater program guarantees to be one of many excellent dramatic occasions of the yr,” the report mentioned. “A forged of … gamers headed by Edward Robertson and Nathaniel Porter of the Regular College will current a South Carolina folks comedy, Unto Such Glory, written by considered one of America’s excellent writers right now — Paul Inexperienced.

“Inexperienced is the creator of ‘The Home of Connelly’, a Broadway success, and lots of different fantastic lengthy and quick performs.”

Not each story results in a march to the White Home steps, however each one has its place within the private historical past of the group.

The town council accepted on first studying an ordinance to create the Variety, Fairness and Inclusion Fee and is anticipated to move it on second studying at Monday’s assembly. The concept being to create dialog and a connection between all sides of Ellensburg society to make the group extra inclusive, shifting ahead.

The Kittitas County Historic Museum is at the moment working to position a everlasting Civil Battle Union gravestone for Frank M. Henson and the 2 different troopers who relaxation subsequent to him within the IOOF Cemetery — Frederick A. Stephens, 1829-1917; and James N. Ferguson, 1840-1918).

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