EDWIN:

PATRON SAINT OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN

EDUCATION AND HOUSING IN SEATTLE

Artist: Leann Onishi

 

Edwin T. Pratt

Born: December 6, 1930

Died: January 26, 1969

Occupation: Civil Rights Activist

 

Just prior to the Subversive Saints workshop, I had a conversation with a gentleman, Bill, about Black History Month. He asked me if Ed Pratt is among those studied and honored during this month. Bill’s family knew Ed personally, back in the 50’s and 60’s. I learned Ed Pratt was an influential activist in Seattle. Bill told me about his leadership of the Seattle Urban League (he was Executive Director when he was killed) and how he fought against housing discrimination. I read a little more about Pratt. I learned his family integrated Shoreline in 1959, which had been all-white. He was also instrumental in starting school desegregation in Seattle as well as fighting employment bias and police brutality. Pratt Fine Arts was named after him, honoring his memory with its mission of making art accessible to everyone: people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds.

     

I chose to display Pratt with a map of Seattle in the background. The map highlights the concentrated population of African Americans in Seattle’s Central District in the 1960s due to housing discrimination. My parents experienced this firsthand. As newlyweds in the mid-1950s, my parents had trouble finding a real estate agent willing to show them houses north of the Ship Canal Bridge. The dedication, work, and sacrifices by Pratt made it possible for Seattleites to have desegregated schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

 

- Leann Onishi