Ladies’ Refugee Aid Society (1864)

The Ladies Refugee Aid Society of Kansas was founded in 1864 by black freedwomen in Lawrence. It was the first black women’s club in the West, preceding the Kansas Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs (a larger amalgamation of various state women’s societies). LRAS was a … Read MoreLadies’ Refugee Aid Society (1864)

East Pasco Co-op (1965- )

Art Fletcher, Founder of the East Pasco Co-op Image Ownership: Public domain The East Pasco African American community emerged quickly during World War II when thousands of black workers were recruited to help construct the Hanford Atomic Energy Complex just north of neighboring Richland, Washington. … Read MoreEast Pasco Co-op (1965- )

The Boston Saloon (1864-1875)

Excavation of the Boston Saloon, July 2000 Image Ownership: Public domain The Boston Saloon, which operated in Virginia City, Nevada, is the only black-owned Western saloon to be the subject of an archaeological excavation. During Virginia City’s heyday in the early 1870s, the town supported … Read MoreThe Boston Saloon (1864-1875)

Joe Brazil (1927-2008)

Joe Brazil (Speaking) Image Ownership: Public domain Joseph Brazil was an American jazz saxophonist and educator born August 25, 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. He taught jazz at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, and co-founded the music curriculum at the University of Washington in the … Read MoreJoe Brazil (1927-2008)

Louisville Western Branch Library (1905- )

Children at the Louisville Western Branch Library, 1950 Image Ownership: Public domain The Louisville Western Branch Library in Louisville, Kentucky, first opened in 1905. This library was the first public library in the nation to serve and be fully operated by black residents. In 1905 … Read MoreLouisville Western Branch Library (1905- )

Hotel Robinson (1897-1921)

Hotel Robinson, ca. 1900 Image Ownership: Public domain The Hotel Robinson, built in 1897, was one of the first businesses in San Diego County, California to be owned and operated by an African American, and the oldest continuously operated hotel in Southern California. The hotel … Read MoreHotel Robinson (1897-1921)

Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Station 30 (1924-1955)

Firemen at Fire Station No. 30, ca. 1930 Image Ownership: Public domain Fire station #30, the first fire station manned by African Americans in the West, was established in 1924. Although the station was created in 1924, African Americans had been serving as firefighters in … Read MoreLos Angeles Fire Department Fire Station 30 (1924-1955)

Morning Star Baptist Missionary Church Pasco, WA (1946- )

Morning Star Baptist Missionary Church opened in 1946 on 631 South Douglas Avenue in Pasco, Washington, where it stands to this day. The church was founded to provide for the spiritual needs of the thousands of black workers who came to Hanford Atomic Facility during … Read MoreMorning Star Baptist Missionary Church Pasco, WA (1946- )

Milton/ Milt or Bags Jackson (1923-1999)

Image Ownership: Public domain Milton Jackson, also known as Milt or Bags because of the bags under his eyes, the leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet, was born on January 1, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan, to Manley Jackson and Lillie Beaty Jackson. He started playing … Read MoreMilton/ Milt or Bags Jackson (1923-1999)

First AME Church, Oakland, California (1858- )

Image Ownership: Public domain The First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Oakland, California emerged in the eastern part of the Bay Area in 1858. The congregation itself was founded by members of the black community in Oakland at the time, but it wasn’t until 1863 … Read MoreFirst AME Church, Oakland, California (1858- )