Podcast | Exploring decades of arts and culture in the Central District

Conversations about Black arts venues in the neighborhood led to stories of creation, loss and preservation.

Four archival photos

Top left: View of Atlantic Street neighborhood in Seattle's Central District, 1983. (Courtesy of MOHAI, 2000. Top right: Black students arriving by bus at Wilson Middle School in Seattle, September 6, 1972. (Courtesy of MOHAI, 2000. Bottom right: Earl Debnam, then with the Citizens' Support Committee of the African American Heritage Museum, stands in front of Colman School, February 16, 1993. (Courtesy of MOHAI, 2000. Bottom left: Members of the rap group R.P.M. rehearse at home in the Central District for their performance at the Sundiata Festival in 1991. (Courtesy of MOHAI, 2000.

The first season of the Black Arts Legacies podcast started as a story about arts spaces. Specifically, in four episodes, listeners have explored the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, the James and Janie Washington Cultural Center, the Northwest African American Museum and Black Arts/West. Connecting these places is the Central District, a neighborhood that needs its own episode.

For this episode, host Brooklyn Jamerson-Flowers revisits interviews from the first four episodes and reflects on her own observations to tell the story of the neighborhood’s past, present and future.

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It is a journey that begins with the vibrant music scene of the ’60s and the activism of the ’70s, then continues into the rapid process of gentrification, continued activism and arts of the ’80s and hip-hop in the ’90s. 

The journey ends with the continued effort to preserve Black arts spaces and build new ones because there is room for so many more. It is an effort listeners are invited to join.

Check out the rest of the Black Arts Legacies project, including artist profiles, photography and videos. 

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