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The purpose of this project is to celebrate and hold up the history of the Central Area. Despite Seattle’s participation in Native American bans; redlining; discriminatory neighborhood covenants and mortgage lending; and the forced removal and incarceration of the entire Japanese American population, this neighborhood thrived. The Central Area was a nurturing and economically vibrant home for African Americans, Japanese Americans, Jewish Americans, Chinese Americans, Filipino Americans and first and foremost, the Coast Salish people of the Duwamish Tribe.This project was also an invitation for past and present residents of the neighborhood to come forward and be seen by having a new portrait taken or sharing an old one. We invite you to contemplate Seattle’s historic racist policies. As a citizen of Seattle or of the neighborhood, how can you honor this history and be mindful of the gentrification that is now occurring? Tamar S. Manuel shot the beautiful new portraits in this project and he and Ellie Jun worked on this installation. Gratitude to the fine folks and space at Wa Na Wari who hosted our photo shoots and to all of our friends, new and old who participated in the project. Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and Seattle Parks and Recreation provided this grant.

Thoughts from people who participated in this project


My roommate and I reflect the residents who once lived or continue to live in this neighborhood, but we are still part of the CD’s gentrification. Families that called this place home long before us can no longer afford to live here, but as a young, urban professionals, I can. I moved to Seattle for a better life, and the CD is one of the few places where I can afford to pay rent in this city. The truth is, I don’t know what to do about it.


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I had lived in the north end but never really felt like I was part of the city. In the CD I could see skyscrapers downtown from my front porch. It was the first neighborhood that I could walk to accomplish all of my regular errands. Getting my haircut at Frank’s I got to know a lot of older residents who were really welcoming. Also, I may not have been as interested in the rich musical history of the city had I not lived in the CD. Imagining Billie Holiday performing at Washington Hall or Big Jay McNelly playing at Birdland on Madison really started to give me a sense of the deep history of the neighborhood and its contributions to Seattle.Thoughts on how the CD is changing now: My own experience with the CD is one of sadness, though I know for many the changes have effected them on a much deeper level. Seattle can seem so homogenous from one neighborhood to the next and the CD was always one of a kind.



Favorite memories of living in the Central Area: • Knowing everyone’s name • Multi-generational connections • Physical beauty — green and Lake Washington On how the CD has changed: • Preserve what you want – stake your claim and don’t complain


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