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For Black History Month: WSL’s federal docs on African Americans

by Brian Zylstra | February 5th, 2016 1:13 pm | No Comments


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(Image courtesy of Washington State Library)

We recently blogged about the State Library’s vast collection of federal documents. The collection includes publications that chronicle some of the rich history of African Americans.

February is Black History Month, so it’s a great time to highlight this treasure trove. They include a look at African Americans serving in the U.S. military, ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War II (pictured here), the Korean War and afterward.

You can see the State Library’s list of federal publications about African Americans here.

Interested in seeing these or other documents in the library’s federal collection? If you want to view any of the collection but don’t know what you’re looking for, just go on the library’s website and search federal publications in the library’s catalog. If you know what you’re searching for, you can contact the library ahead of time so a staffer can retrieve that document, or you can place a hold on the document in the catalog. Some federal collection items can be circulated, while others can’t due to the item’s age, condition or value.

Go here to learn more about the State Library’s federal collection project.

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WTBBL’s teen patrons to benefit from grant

WTBBL's Marian Mays

WTBBL youth services librarian Marian Mays outside the library. (Photo courtesy WTBBL)

Marian Mays, the new youth services librarian at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library in Seattle, soon will have some serious coin on hand to help her and WTBBL serve its teen patrons even better.

Mays is one of 20 recipients selected from a pool of more than 50 applicants to receive a 2016 Teen Tech Week Grant. The grants come from Best Buy and the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Services Association.

Each recipient receives a $1,000 grant to support Teen Tech Week digital literacy programming that targets underserved or marginalized teens. Teen Tech Week takes place March 6-12, with the theme of “Create it at your library.”

Mays says she plans to use the grant money to create an assisted gaming lab for teens ages 13-18 on Saturday, March 12, from 2 to 5 p.m. at WTBBL. Pizza will be provided. Interested students should RSVP Mays by March 11 at marian.mays@sos.wa.gov or (206) 615-1253.

“I am honored WTBBL was selected to receive the Teen Tech Week Grant,” Mays said. “The funds will be used to create an assisted gaming lab for teens with visual and physical impairments. Gaming is extremely important since play fosters crucial social, emotional and cognitive skills in individuals of all ages. It is also an essential part of the adolescent experience. My goal is for teens and educators around the state to use this gaming lab for education, fun and to make new relationships with their peers.”

Mays said the gaming lab will include braille board games, braille card games, tactile games like giant jenga, Legos and audio games such as Blindscape and Blindfold Horserace. She added she hopes to take the lab outside of WTBBL.

“I’m interested in taking the lab on the road to schools for fun or education, so teachers can reach out to me if they are interested in having the lab come to their school.”

WTBBL is a service of the Washington State Library and the Office of Secretary of State.

Wyman honors World War II writing contest winners

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Secretary Wyman with three of the World War II writing contest winners (from left), Sajid Amin, Remi Frederick and Elizabeth Min. (Photo courtesy Laura Mott) 

Secretary Wyman has honored four students as state champions in an essay and letter-writing contest marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The contest, sponsored by our Legacy Washington program, asked students in grades 8 through 11 to either write a letter to a veteran (living or deceased) or an essay describing what the war means to them. Wyman honored the winners and their families in a special ceremony at the Capitol.

“Even 70 years later, World War II has had an enormous impact on our world and older generations,” Wyman said. “This contest encourages students to explore the war and learn how it impacted their older relatives, and what the war meant to themselves. So many of the letters and essays were thoughtful and revealing. I congratulate all of the students who took part.”

This contest winners are:
• Remi Frederick, an eighth-grader at Columbia Junior High School in Federal Way. Remi’s letter is called “A Letter of Life.”
• Sajid Amin, a freshman at North Thurston High School in Lacey. Sajids’ essay is entitled “What WWII Means to Me.”
• Elizabeth Min, a sophomore at Decatur High School in Federal Way. Elizabeth’s essay is called “It Took a War to Bring My Family Together.”
• June Lin, a junior at Snohomish High School in Snohomish. June’s essay is “Six Long Years.”

Frederick, Amin and Min and their families attended an awards ceremony in Wyman’s office Wednesday. Lin was unable to attend. Each of the four champions received a certificate of appreciation and a $100 Fred Meyer gift card from Wyman.

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Wyman pays off bet by wearing jersey of former Lacey star Stewart

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Secretary Wyman wears the Carolina jersey of her hometown hero, Lacey’s Jonathan Stewart. (Photo courtesy of Laura Mott)

True to her word, Secretary Wyman is ready to wear a Carolina Panthers jersey when she gathers with her counterparts at the upcoming National Association of Secretaries of State conference later this month in Washington, D.C. When she dons that jersey, she’ll be honoring a favorite son of Lacey, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart.

Stewart is known to NFL fans as the fast, powerful back who plays a big role in  the Panthers strong ground attack. But for Olympia-area football fans, Stewart is remembered as the record-setting back for Timberline High School who went on to star for the Oregon Ducks before joining Carolina in 2008.

Before the Panthers played Wyman’s beloved Seattle Seahawks in a recent NFC playoff game at Carolina, Wyman made a bet with North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall: If Seattle won, Marshall would give Wyman some Carolina barbecue, a boxing of Covington sweet potatoes and a bottle of Covington vodka. If the Panthers won, Wyman would give Marshall a package of WA wine, salmon and apples. Oh, and the loser had to wear the winner’s jersey.

“I’m sure Elaine will enjoy some of our state’s finest products,” Wyman said. “While I wish the Hawks won, I’m proud to wear Jonathan Stewart’s jersey.”

Wyman gave a shout-out to Stewart in this short YouTube video showing the world that she has her Carolina jersey ready to wear at NASS.

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`We’re Not in Heaven Yet': Legacy WA profile on Rev. McKinney

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during his 1961 speech in Seattle. Rev. McKinney invited King to come to Seattle (Photo courtesy Washington State Archives)

Our Legacy Washington program recently launched an important new profile on the Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney, civil rights pioneer and former pastor of Seattle’s Mount Zion Baptist Church. The profile, entitled “We’re not in Heaven yet,” is here.

In honor of Black History Month, we have provided an excerpt of the first few pages of the profile, plus images and materials related to Rev. Dr. McKinney and the civil rights movement in Seattle.

Letter from McKinney to King Nov 6, 1961_The King Center

Rev. Dr. McKinney’s letter to Dr. King on his Seattle visit. (Letter courtesy of McKinney family)

They used to say Seattle was a long way from everywhere, a far-flung and hopeful place if you happened to be black. They used to say it was another world from the Deep South where race split society at the core and dark skin could still earn you a lynching.

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A 1963 civil rights march in Seattle. (Photo courtesy Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Samuel McKinney, then on a 30-year walk with God, arrived in the city far from everywhere in the winter of 1957. “The frontier spirit, in a sense, is still alive,” the minister said of the Pacific Northwest. But nearly a century after Lincoln freed millions of slaves, in an ostensibly progressive city, McKinney found freedom elusive. He found blacks banned from restaurants and hotels. He found them in dead-end jobs or unemployed. He found them running from the South and crimes “real or imagined.” The vast majority were confined to four square miles of modest homes—some tidy, some ramshackle—and many built more than 50 years before. Then he began house hunting himself. “Are you colored?” the realtor asked.

McKinney, a third-generation Baptist minister, had grown up in Cleveland, Ohio hearing his father preach the Social Gospel with such fervent passion that it passed down the family tree to him. It rose up years later, on the streets of Seattle, where he led boycotts against companies for refusing to hire minorities and protests against the city for refusing to open housing. The pastor who would one day call attention to the rebellious acts of Jesus—the Lord “raised some Holy Hell,” McKinney would write admiringly—challenged injustice on the streets of his hometown. “The white majority should not decide on my basic rights!” he hollered to thousands on a muddy day in Seattle. When an intimidating church leader in Seattle reneged on plans to host Martin Luther King, Jr., then deemed a radical by whites and blacks alike, McKinney threatened to go public with the truth “so help me God!”

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Rev. Dr. McKinney and his family during his first day at Mount Zion Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy McKinney family)

Then he paid a price. He watched garbage cans shatter his windows. He cleaned feces off the glass. He spotted Black Panthers outside his home, their pointed rifles as visible as their black berets. He comforted his anxious daughter when kids on the school bus jeered, “I hear they’re going to kill your daddy.” After a decade, McKinney concluded that racial unrest in the Pacific Northwest didn’t mirror the Deep South, but it “certainly wasn’t the Promised Land.”

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Hidden gems in State Library’s federal collection

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State Library staffers who oversee the federal collection look at one of the collection’s maps.

It’s no surprise that the Washington State Library houses many books, maps and other documents related to our state government and Washington in general. After all, it is the STATE Library.

What many don’t know is that it also keeps a vast collection of more than a million federal documents.

In fact, our State Library has been collecting federal publications since its beginning as a territorial library and later as a state library by participating in the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Federal Depository Library Program. The library was officially designated as the Regional Depository Library for Washington and Alaska in 1965. The collection includes printed reports, microfiche, CD-ROMS, DVDs and maps. The program also provides access to online publications and services via the Internet.

“We should get everything that GPO distributes and we are responsible for keeping that whole collection intact,” said Rand Simmons, who oversees the library’s federal collection project. “More and more, these documents are being published online rather than print, which offsets our need to find space for them.”

He works closely with Crystal Lentz, who administers the Regional Depository Library.

Simmons said the federal collection includes some “Wow!” documents. continue reading

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Secretary Wyman visits wintry Wenatchee

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Secretary Wyman with Wenatchee World Chairman Emeritus Wilfred Woods. (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Horn)

From time to time, Secretary of State Wyman leaves Olympia to visit other parts of Washington and meet with the locals and discuss what our office is up to nowadays. The Secretary drove over the snowy Cascades to Wenatchee Tuesday for an overnight stay. She began her visit there with a noontime speech to the local Kiwanis Club, followed by an editorial board meeting at the Wenatchee World and an interview with KPQ Radio. During those stops, Wyman discussed her 2016 legislative package.

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Secretary Wyman shares a joke during her Kiwanis speech.

Wenatchee in winter

Wenatchee with the surrounding hills covered in snow.

 

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Secretary Wyman certifies Citizens United I-735

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Assistant Secretary of State Mark Neary signs documents certifying I-735 Wednesday.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman has certified Initiative to the Legislature 735. The measure seeks to put Washington on record as favoring an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Wyman announced Tuesday that the state Elections Division has completed a random sample of the 333,040 signatures submitted by sponsors, confirming that there were sufficient signatures. The invalidation rate, including duplicates and signatures from people not found on the voter rolls, was 18 percent, about average for Washington ballot measures in recent decades.

I-735 now goes to the House and Senate, where lawmakers may approve it, ignore or reject it and let it go to the fall ballot, or place it and a legislative alternative side-by-side on the ballot.

The attorney general’s ballot title:

Initiative Measure No. 735 concerns a proposed amendment to the federal constitution.

This measure would urge the Washington state congressional delegation to propose a federal constitutional amendment that constitutional rights belong only to individuals, not corporations, and constitutionally-protected free speech excludes the spending of money.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Wyman previously certified a second initiative to the Legislature, I-732, dealing with carbon taxes.

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WA State Library photos: skiing Mount Rainier

Mt Rainier - Dege Peak

Our State Library has many rare and historic books, newspapers, maps and other collections (even phone books!) related to Washington and the Northwest.

The State Library also has a great collection of more than 5,000 classic black-and-white photos that capture Washington’s history, people, geography and economic development. You can view the State Library Photograph Collection, 1851-1990, here. It’s also found on our Digital Archives website.

Since we’re in the middle of a white winter in the mountains, you’ll enjoy some great shots of snow-covered Washington locales. One shot shows two skiers crossing a ridge line near Dege Peak below Sunrise in Mount Rainier National Park. The photo was taken sometime between 1920 and 1950. You can learn more about this photo here.

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Wyman certifies Initiative 732, sending it to Legislature

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Secretary of State Kim Wyman has certified Initiative to the Legislature 732, which deals with carbon taxes.

It was a close call, though, despite sponsors turning in 363,126 signatures, nearly 120,000 more than the bare number of valid voter signatures required (246,372).

That’s because an unusually high error rate was discovered when election crews checked a 3 percent random sample of 11,061 signatures.  The error rate was 27.59 percent, well above the historic average of 18 percent. That was due primarily to duplicate signatures, but also reflected invalid signatures, primarily those of people not found on the Washington voter rolls.

In fact, if a few more duplicate signatures had turned up in the random check, the Elections Division would have had to check all 363,126 signatures. Initiatives cannot be rejected using the random sample method.

As it was, the signature check projects that sponsors brought in only a slim cushion of 16,568 signatures, or 262,940.

The error rate was the highest in at least 25 years.

The measure will now go to the Legislature for first consideration. Lawmakers have the option of passing it as is, letting it go to the fall statewide ballot, or sending it and a legislative alternative to the ballot. Environmentalists have also discussed the potential of an alternative citizen’s initiative on the same subject.

The Elections Division crew now turns to a random sample check of Initiative to the Legislature 735, which seeks to put the state on record as favoring a U.S. constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.  Here is text of I-735.

Both I-732 and I-735 were previously certified provisionally to the Legislature, subject to signature verification.

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Winners of World War II writing contest announced

L to R_Bob Hart, Eddie Meingasher, John Bonner. Texas Twibell in window

Four Washington students have been named state champions in an essay and letter-writing contest marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The competition, sponsored by the Office of Secretary of State’s Legacy Washington program, asked students in grades 8 through 11 to either write a letter to a veteran (living or deceased) or an essay describing what the war means to them.

This year’s winners (and the names of their letters/essays) are:
8th grade: Remi Frederick (Columbia Junior High School, Federal Way) – “A Letter of Life”
9th grade: Sajid Amin (North Thurston High School, Lacey) – “What WWII means to me”
10th grade: Elizabeth Min (Decatur High School, Federal Way) – “It took a war to bring my family together”
11th grade: June Lin (Snohomish High School, Snohomish) – “Six Long Years”

Go here to read the winning students’ pieces.

The four students, along with their teachers and families, will be invited to Secretary of State Wyman’s office on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 3:30 p.m. to receive a certificate of appreciation and a $100 gift card sponsored by Fred Meyer.

“So many of the submitted letters and essays were very thoughtful and well-written,” said Wyman, who was part of a panel of judges reviewing the entries. “Some of them were personal and moving, while others focused on the war’s enormous impact. I congratulate all of the students who took part.”

The winning essays will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website, featured in OSOS publications and appear alongside the Washington Remembers exhibit, which focuses on Washingtonians who served in the war.

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The Washington Office of the Secretary of State’s blog provides from-the-source information about important state news and public services. This space acts as a bridge between the public and Secretary Kim Wyman and her staff, and we invite you to contribute often to the conversation here.

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