MIPoPS is dedicating all Virtual Moving History screenings in July 2020 to highlighting the voices of Seattle’s Black community. We believe that to better understand the anger and urgency surrounding the current protests, as well as the depth and complexity of systemic racism in Seattle, it is important to examine historical context, including the evolution of local conversations regarding race.
These screenings are a preview into some of the historical resources available from local archives that document those conversations. Each program honors the contributions of Seattle’s Black community to art, activism, poetry, literature, music, theater, and government.
One of the many reasons we are passionate about magnetic media (videotape) vs. film is that its affordability and ease of use provided a democratizing opportunity for recording. The commercial availability and technological accessibility of videotape greatly diversified the content that could be created and saved by heritage, journalism, and arts communities. The Pacific Northwest’s moving image history must reflect that diversity of perspectives and stories; we must continue to prioritize BIPOC-made and -centering material, and support public access to it.
Marginalized communities are essential voices in our cultural heritage. To become better archivists and allies, we are committed to seeking and creating ways to amplify them.
911 Media Arts Center: The Making of the Tribes Media Project (1998)
In collaboration with The Tribes Project, the 911 Media Arts Center partnered with Garfield High School and Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center to offer a video production program. The Tribes Media Project at Garfield High School was a group of 12 students who met after school to learn about media production from 911 Media Arts Center instructors. The group’s two main goals were to make their own video about race and to document the Tribes Theater Project.
The Tribes Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation of true multicultural perspectives of race relations on the stage and beyond. This documentary is from the Seattle Channel Collection at Seattle Municipal Archives.
Living Literature Series: Malcolm X (2002)
Footage from Bumbershoot 2002, of a Living Literature Series performance featuring Charles Everett Pace portraying Malcolm X. Produced by the Seattle Public Library Foundation. Introduction by Nancy Pearl. From the Seattle Channel Collection at Seattle Municipal Archives.
African American Storytellers (February 23, 2000)
In celebration of Black History Month, the City of Seattle sponsored a public event featuring local Black storyteller Joyce Stahmer.
A dance/theatre piece, directed by Doris Chase, written by Bonnie Greer, and featuring Patricia Patton.
House on Cedar Hill (1952)
This short documentary by Carlton Moss, is a portrait of Frederick Douglass, the runaway slave who became an editor, orator, and statesman. The content includes historical documents, period drawings, photographs, and mementos found in the Douglass home in Washington, D.C. Presented by the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.
The Maafa Suite: A Healing Journey (July 13, 2001)
Content advisory: The Maafa Suite is a theater production that draws on the experience of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and its resultant centuries of trauma.
Footage of the first Seattle performance of The Maafa Suite at the Moore Theatre in 2001. This original theatrical commemoration was created by first presented in 1995 as a production of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York. In addition to hosting The Maafa Suite at the church, the production has toured around the United States to cities including Dallas, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Bridgeport, and Seattle. The Seattle production was performed at the Moore Theatre in July of 2001 and 2002. The Maafa Suite was the inspiration for Sankofa Theatre, and members of the production team went on to work with the Sankofa Theatre team, including Seattle Ensemble Director Justin Emeka.
The Maafa Suite covers a period in World History that African Americans refer to as the Maafa, a Ki-Swahili word that means holocaust, and was neologized to encompass the atrocities of the slave trade. Through drama, song, rhythm, and dance, The Maafa Suite tells a story of Africans confronted with the arrival of white slavers, the voyage of Africans to America, and the complex circumstances under which enslaved Africans were oppressed. Now in its 11th season, the production inspires and uplifts as it reminds us of the resiliency of the human spirit.