ARTS at King Street Station

1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation

Ceremonial Mask, 20th Century, Wood, Beads, Cowrie shells, courtesy of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths

November 16, 2021 - January 15, 2022

The history of American chattel slavery, as an institution, had the primary function of feeding the greed of wealth and capitalism by white men of European descent both in Europe and the Americas. The commodification of human beings primarily from the continent of Africa provided a free labor force for over 400 years. There are many histories that are still debated and told through different lenses, but stories that are centered on the attributes, perseverance, and courage, of a great people are rarely shared.

Created and curated by Mr. Delbert Richardson of The Unspoken Truths1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation takes viewers on a chronological journey - from the beginnings of our origins in Africa, American Chattel Slavery, and the Jim Crow Era to modern-day African American originators, inventors, and innovators.

The exhibition is organized into four themes:

  • Mother Africa, which features some of the great contributions that Africans have made throughout the world. This section connects Africa's global impact in the areas of its rich traditions, cultures, rituals, and ceremonies.  Equally as important, are the global contributions in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math)  
  • American Chattel Slavery breaks down of the type of slavery where human beings are considered to be property and are bought and sold as such. This section utilizes authentic artifacts, documents, and storyboards, to expose the Impacts on enslaved Africans physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. The theme also exposes the impacts on people of European descent asking community to question the emotional and psychological impacts that must come from inflicting and enforcing these heinous acts of dehumanization. 
  • Jim Crow Era is an explanation of the racial caste system geared around white superiority. Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism.
  • Still We Rise highlights African American inventors and inventions. A 40-foot display features everyday items that African Americans have invented or improved upon.

Two additional installations will also be on view in the gallery space: Diversity by Design by AIA Seattle's Diversity Roundtable and Home of Good: A Black Seattle Storyquilt by Storme Webber. 

*Please note: 1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation may contain works that some visitors could find upsetting. Please connect with a visitor services staff member for more information and references.


About Mr. Delbert Richardson

Mr. Delbert Richardson

Mr. Delbert Richardson, the founder of The Unspoken Truths, is a self-taught educator, second-generation storyteller, ethnomuseologist, and community scholar. Born in Detroit, his family of six siblings moved to the Seattle area in the mid-1960s. He attended Coleman Elementary, Washington Middle School, Franklin High School, and graduated from Antioch, Seattle with a B.A. in Liberal Arts: Global Social Justice.

Mr. Delbert Richardson is a husband and father of four amazing children. Richardson has won numerous awards including:     

  • 2013 National Campus Compact Newman Fellows Award   
  • 2017 National Education Assoc. (NEA) Human and Civil Rights Award   
  • 2019 Seattle Mayor Arts Award   
  • 2019 Seattle Crosscut Courage in Culture Award   
  • 2020 Assoc. of King County Org. (AKCHO) Heritage Education Award   
  • 2020-2021 National Maquis Who's Who Award  
  • 2021 Governor's Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) 
  • 2021 MOHAI's Educator of the Year 

Upcoming Events

Opening Celebration (December 2, 2021)

ARTS at King Street Station invites the community to a special opening celebration to commemorate 1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation, an exhibition by Mr. Delbert Richardson. The opening celebration will feature remarks, tours with Mr. Delbert Richardson, and opportunities to and engage and connect with his work.

Thursday, December 2, 2021
5:30 - 8pm
Free
ARTS at King Street Station

RSVP

Exhibition Exploration for Educators with Delbert Richardson (December 11, 2021)

The Creative Advantage invites educators to this special exhibition exploration session to tour the exhibit and think critically together about ways to share this exhibit and its themes with students.

Saturday, December 11, 2021
11am  - 1pm
Free
ARTS at King Street Station

RSVP


ARTS at King Street Station is free and open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am to 6pm. In accordance with King County's vaccination verification guidance, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status. 

1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation is organized and presented by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and is curated by Ricky Reyes in partnership with the ARTS at King Street Station Advisors. Support for the installation is provided by Benjamin Gale-Schreck and Blake Haygood. 

Image: Ceremonial Mask, 20th Century, Wood, Beads, Cowrie shells, courtesy of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths

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About ARTS at King Street Station

ARTS at King Street Station, which incorporates a new 7,500-square-foot cultural space available to the general public, a studio for artists-in-residence and offices for staff of the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, was conceived to increase opportunities for people of color to generate and present their work and to reflect and foster the creativity and talents of people that continue to create the fabric of Seattle.

Over the past several years, we've listened to community feedback and continue to gather research on best practices in how to make this space welcoming.

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ARTS at King Street Station Advisors

Resources

ARTS engaged in an inclusive, city-wide outreach effort in order to hear from the community about their needs (check the #ARTSaboard hashtag on Twitter). Below are reports that capture the feedback and the plans created to address community needs.

ARTS' intention with the new space is to increase opportunities for communities of color to present their work. The dedicated cultural space will provide public access to presentation and creative spaces, ARTS staff and resources, space for city convenings, and professional development and other services that were requested through the outreach process. This is an innovative plan that utilizes an underused city resource to address issues of affordability and livability while preserving the unique creative economy that drives Seattle.

AFrican performers at King Street Station during Create City 2016. Photo by Sunita Martini.

King Street Station Programming Plan (pdf)

ARTS staff worked with the University of Washington Evans School Consulting Lab to produce a research report, "Reimagining King Street Station through a Racial Equity Lens" (May 2018), which is an aspirational document about best practices in cultural space programming.  

Watercolor of King Street Station by Tina Kayoma.

Reimagining King Street Station through a Racial Equity and Social Justice Lens, UW Evans School of Public Policy & Governance
PDF

 2018 King Street Station Community Feedback Report 

King Street Station Community Feedback Report 
PDF (5 MB)

About King Street Station

Historic image of King Street Station

King Street Station is a public asset that is an important part of Seattle's history. For over one hundred years it has improved connections, serving as a gateway for millions of travelers coming into Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. The station has spurred economic growth and helped establish Seattle as a major metropolitan city.

King Street Station first opened to the public in May 1906. Reed and Stem, the architectural firm responsible for New York City's historic Grand Central Terminal, designed the station. The San Marco bell tower of Venice, Italy, served as the model for the building's familiar clock tower. The structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Interior King Street StationKing Street Station, located on Jackson Street between Third and Fourth Avenue S., is a brick and granite three-story building with a twelve-story clock tower. The ground floor, accessed from King Street, is clad in granite. The walls of the second and third floors, as well as the clock tower, are faced in pressed brick with decorative terra cotta elements such as cornices and window lintels.

While much of the exterior of King Street Station has remained intact since the building was constructed in 1906, parts of the interior have been substantially altered and others have suffered neglect. Similarly, while nearly half of the facility's original finishes remain intact, most of the significant finishes in the lower portion of the station have been removed. In March 2008 the City of Seattle purchased the landmark building from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway Company.

Under city ownership, King Street Station underwent a $50 million renovation that achieved the following goals:

Exterior King Steet Station

  • Restore the building's historic character and grandeur
  • Upgrade facilities to meet present and future needs of rail and transit users
  • Enhance passenger safety and security
  • Promote sustainable design with a LEED building certification
  • Support efforts to transform the station into a modern transit hub
  • The station is served by Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight and Empire Builder long distance rail lines and Amtrak intercity buses. It includes convenient connections to Sound Transit commuter rail, local and regional buses, Sound Transit Link light rail, and the First Hill Seattle Streetcar.
  • The restoration of King Street Station ensures it remains a critical transportation hub and gateway into Seattle for the next hundred years.