Race and Violence in Washington State: A Commissioned Report

Occasionally I will post briefly about an interesting document, publication, or historical record that is available digitally. Let us start with this fascinating state commission on the status of race and violence in Washington State in the late 1960s.


Race and Violence in Washington State: A Commissioned Report

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On Friday the archivist at my work, Anna Harbine, strolled out of the depths of the stacks with a thin little book in her hand and a proud grin on her face. She plopped the book down on my desk and I was instantly fascinated. The book, Race and Violence in Washington State, was a commissioned report by the state of Washington in 1968. Just quickly paging through the book it was surprising how similar many of the problems, findings, and recommendations cited in the report were to some of the situations we are facing today. The sections on police-community relationships are particularly poignant as the Spokane City Council attempts to steer the future of the Spokane Police Department. 

The publication also includes some interesting maps that show where the Black community was concentrated in Spokane, Tacoma, Seattle, and Washington State in 1960s. Look at this one from Spokane:

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The book is widely available in public libraries and I found it available digitally from an interesting repository called the Digital Mayoral Archives. The repository “seeks to capture the breadth of stories and perspectives that have shaped municipal leadership throughout” the history of the city of Indianapolis. Somehow this Washington gem found its way into their collection. Thank you for that, we appreciate it.

Look for a more in depth blog post on this publication from Anna Harbine in the near future.

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Logan Camporeale

I am a local historian working primarily on projects in the Inland Northwest region.

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