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Two hands are painted on the wall mark the area where detainees are supposed put their own before they were processed at the former INS building.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

People may know about the immigration detention center in Tacoma. But one of the earlier detention centers was in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District.

It was built to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act that was signed into law 135 years ago this week. The law prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country. 

Twenty-five years ago, the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified — nearly two centuries after it was written. The improbable story of how that happened starts with the Founding Fathers themselves and winds up at the University of Texas. And it's a heartening reminder of the power of individuals to make real change.

Hops pickers at Titus Farm, on the site of modern-day Kent (formerly known as Titusville). Titus farm and Titusville were named after the same prominent family of settlers. Everett E. Titus in white shirt.
White River Valley Museum Collection, Gift of Erle Titus.

When Kent, Washington, was first settled by Europeans, it was called Titusville. So why the name change? Because of beer.

Or, to be more precise, because of hops.

Or, to be even more precise, because of western Washington's great 19th-century hops craze.


Sandi and Princess Di

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo from Flickr/Maxwell Hamilton (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6PaeSk

On August 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, is involved in a nighttime crash in Paris that leads to her death, the death of her partner Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.

On the same day, a phone call in the middle of the night leads Sandi Clark to an emergency room and a tragedy she’s not sure she can handle. 

Original photo from Flickr/usacetulsa (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/shYgpH

On April 19, 1995, a bomb is detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. Nearly 700 are wounded and 168 people killed in the largest domestic terror attack in United States history.

On the same day, Captain Brian Udell is forced to eject from his fighter jet at the speed of sound and fight for survival while lost in the Atlantic Ocean.

Original photo in public domain

On April 20, 2010, British Petroleum suffers an explosion at its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Eleven workers are killed and the rig begins to leak millions of barrels of oil, the worst spill in history.

On the same day, Kayla Gerdes loses control of a van she’s driving and her life is changed forever.

Jechul and Mount St. Helens

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo in public domain

On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington state. It’s one of America’s most destructive natural disasters, spreading ash across 11 states, causing the largest landslide in recorded history and destroying all life within miles of the blast.

On the same day, 18-year-old South Korean Jechul Ru finds himself caught up in a nationwide protests against the government and the government’s deadly response.

Gerry and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo from Flickr/charley1965 (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6w5ds

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, threatening to further strain civil unrest in America.

On the same day, Gerry Griffin sits in the control room at NASA, struggling to guide a damaged Apollo rocket into space. 

Original Photo courtesy of Jefferson County Sheriff's Department

On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris walk into Columbine High School and begin shooting classmates and teachers. They murder 13 and injure nearly two dozen more before committing suicide.

On the same day, Kathleen Tyson, who is HIV positive, walks into a courtroom to fight for the right to breastfeed her infant son, which the state of Oregon claims will kill him.

Danny and Mandela

Apr 20, 2017
Original Photo from Flickr/Thomas Berg (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/68KS7i

On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela is released from prison after being confined for 27 years as a political prisoner. His release is a global event and signals the beginning of the end of apartheid in South Africa.

On the same day, 24-year-old Danny Johnson cuts through the final bar of his cell and escapes from a prison in Joliet, Illinois, unsure where he’ll end up.

Megan and the Columbia

Apr 20, 2017
Original photo courtesy of NASA

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia breaks apart on its 28th mission while re-entering the atmosphere. The seven-member crew are killed almost immediately, the first astronaut fatalities in almost 20 years.

On the same day, Megan Sukys travels to see her dying father and come to terms with what his life meant. 

Geov Parrish.
Courtesy of Geov Parrish

The Seattle Times dropped a bombshell on the local political scene last week, publishing a lengthy account of interviews with three separate men who claim that Mayor Ed Murray paid them for sex while they were underage gay drug abusers in the 1980s.

You know the name Rosa Parks. But do you know David Sohappy? He was at the center of a 30-year legal battle over Native American rights to fish salmon.

Next week the Yakama will mark the 30th anniversary of what they call the “Fish Wars.”

Blink while driving on Highway 34, east of Greeley, Colo., and you might miss the former town of Dearfield.

All that's left of the once-thriving town on Colorado's eastern plains are a rundown gas station, a partially collapsed lunch counter and a former lodge. They are the only indication that there was once a community here. The grass around these buildings is crispy and straw-colored, whipped back and forth by relentless winds. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains barely peek through the haze to the west.

On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. Nearly 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it.

Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in his new book, The Road to Jonestown. He calls Jones a "tremendous performer" who exhibited "the classic tendencies of the demagogue."

Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Wikimedia Commons

On April 4, 1968,  Gary Heyde had just arrived for a conference at Kentucky State College. He and more than 500 students from every major black university waited in line to register. Heyde happened to be the only white student there.

No more than 20 minutes had passed when a girl came running into the lobby where conference-goers waited to register. “They’ve killed Martin,” she screamed.

At first, the room was cloaked in complete and total silence. Then chaos ensued.

A 1960s sign from an old flophouse in Pioneer Square in Seattle.
Flickr/Matthew Klein (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4PF4Bn

It’s not an easy time to find an apartment in Seattle. You’d be hard pressed to find a one-bedroom on Capitol Hill for less than $1,400 per month — and rents for similarly-sized apartments in swanky new buildings regularly soar upward of $3,000.

Echoes from Northwest history rang loudly for people in the present at a memorial ceremony Thursday to mark 75 years since the U.S. government forcibly removed the first Japanese Americans from their West Coast homes and sent them to internment camps. This happened in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

KUOW Photo/Posey Gruener

If this ghost town had a mayor, it would be Don Mason.

Back in the 1970s, Mason was hiking when he stumbled on evidence of a town called Franklin. He’d never heard of it. Since then, Mason has been collecting proof that a town once sat on this hillside, high above the Green River Gorge. 

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen at Seattle Public Library
KUOW photo/Sonya Harris

Before Viet Thanh Nguyen became the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel “The Sympathizers,” he was a 4-year-old boy uprooted from war-torn Vietnam and transported to a refugee camp in the United States.

Nguyen’s experience as a refugee marked his journey towards becoming an American in crucial ways. He describes the experience of being both a refugee and an American as being “split in two.”

Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier, circa 1920s, probably when more people said Warshington.
Flickr/Seattle Municipal Archives https://flic.kr/p/cydqbs (CC BY 2.0)

We’re a quirky bunch out here in Washington state. We eat cream cheese on our hotdogs. The western part of the state freaks out when it snows. We don’t pay income tax.

Moon Bang, originally from Korea, owns the Black Diamond Bakery. She has periodically encountered racism since she bought the bakery 10 years ago.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Our region was built with immigrant labor. It’s part of the story of growth and development here. There are many ways to tell that history. How we tell it signals who belongs, and who is a foreigner.


James Gregory, history professor at the University of Washington.
KUOW/Kara McDermott

Recent hate crimes prompted President Donald Trump to condemn such acts in a speech to Congress. Some of those incidents have been in the Pacific Northwest, and now the shooting of a Sikh man in Kent is being investigated as a possible federal civil rights violation. 

UW history professor James Gregory told KUOW's Kim Malcolm about the prevalence of hate crimes in the Pacific Northwest. 


Courtesy of Angela Carlye

In 1963, John Lewis was 23 years old when he addressed a crowd of over 200,000 people at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Lewis was already a veteran of the civil rights movement. He had been a devoted anti-segregation and voting rights activist in college and was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders who dared to ride integrated buses into the segregated South. He had become the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In a company town, says Leonard Garfield, 'you spent your whole day, and all of your night, working for the company whether you knew it or not.'
Courtesy of MOHAI, 1978.6585.30

Bill Radke speaks with Leonard Garfield, executive director of the Museum of History and Industry, about what it was like to live in Black Diamond, Washington, when the Pacific Coast Coal Company ran the mines — and also rented the homes, sold the groceries, hired the doctors, and brought in the entertainment.

For a laborer in that kind of environment, Garfield says, "you can imagine that you could build up some resentment."

In the 1950s and '60s, if there were any children's books in a house, at least one of them was likely to be a Little Golden Book. With their golden spines and brightly colored pictures, they begged to be grabbed off a shelf by a curious child — which is exactly what their creators intended. Those beloved books celebrate their 75th birthday this year.

First introduced shortly after the start of World War II, many of them — such as The Tawny Scrawny Lion, The Saggy Baggy Elephant and The Poky Little Puppy — have become classics.

Professor Joy Williamson-Lott
Courtesy of The University of Washington

“Are you ready to go back in history?” Professor Joy Williamson-Lott asks that question early on in this talk. She’s encouraging the audience, exciting us, but also challenging us.

The history of public education in the United States, her area of focus, is rife with deeply troubling inequality and injustice.

In the waning years of the Civil War, advertisements like this began appearing in newspapers around the country:

"INFORMATION WANTED By a mother concerning her children.

Kennewick Man is finally laid to rest

Feb 22, 2017

Bill Radke talks with Anna King about the burial of Kennewick Man. Anna King is a reporter for the Northwest News Network. Her series on Kennewick Man's return to Northwest tribes is called "Back To Earth."

There are very few scenarios where I could see myself considering the flesh of a fellow human being as food, and the ultimatum "eat today or die tomorrow" comes up in all of them. Most people are probably with me on this.

But Bill Schutt's newest book, Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History, reveals that from a scientific perspective, there's a predictable calculus for when humans and animals go cannibal. And far more humans — and animals — have dipped into the world of cannibalism than you might have imagined.

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