Academic Historian

Quin’Nita Cobbins-Modica is an academic historian and educator whose research, teaching, and writing interests focus on black women’s history in the American West. She completed her Ph.D at the University of Washington with an undergraduate degree in History from Fisk University and a Master’s in History from the University of Georgia. She has taught courses in U.S., African American, Civil Rights, and Pacific Northwest history at Gonzaga University, the University of Oregon, and Seattle Pacific University. Her article “Finding Peace Across the Ocean: Daisy Tibbs Dawson and the Rebuilding of Hiroshima,” was published in the Spring 2019 issue of Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History. Currently, she is working on a forthcoming book that explores the long history of black women’s political engagement, leadership, and activism in Seattle that went well beyond formal politics and the fight for women’s suffrage. While illuminating African American history in the Pacific Northwest, her work offers an expansive new interpretation of the symbiotic relationship between women’s activism, civil rights, and public service.

As a supporter of public history and digital humanities, she works with local historical institutions and contributes to online public-facing history projects. She has served as a researcher and guest teaching lecturer for the Northwest African American History Museum and as a gallery exhibit reviewer, exhibition co-curator, and historical consultant with the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle. In 2017, she co-authored a book, Seattle on the Spot, that explored photographs of Black Seattle through the lens of photographer, Al Smith. She also has published articles profiling black women activists in the American West for the Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 digital project.

Cobbins-Modica has been a dedicated member of the team since 2013, having worked in several capacities including webmaster, content contributor, associate editor, and executive director.

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816- )

“Image Ownership: Spencer Means” Emanuel A.M.E. Church is the oldest black A.M.E. Church in the South and contains the oldest black congregation south of Baltimore, Maryland.  The church’s early roots emerged out of slavery in a shared legacy with Charleston (South Carolina) Methodist Episcopal Church … Read MoreEmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (1816- )

Samuel Eugene Kelly (1926-2009)

“Image Ownership: Public Domain” Samuel Eugene Kelly, soldier and educator, was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on January 26, 1926 to James Handy Kelly, a minister, and Essie Matilda Allen-Kelly, a homemaker.  Educated at Greenwich public schools, Kelly dropped out of high school in 1943 and … Read MoreSamuel Eugene Kelly (1926-2009)

Wanda J. Herndon (1952- )

In 1978, Wanda J. Herndon launched her successful career in corporate America when she became the first African American exempt professional and external hire in the Communicator Development Program of The Dow Chemical Company.  Later, she made significant contributions at other major corporations, including DuPont … Read MoreWanda J. Herndon (1952- )

Freddie Mae Hurd Gautier (1930–2001)

Freddie Mae Gautier with Elisa Miranda, 1990 “Image Ownership: El Centro de la Raza” Freddie Mae Gautier, civil rights activist, political advisor, businesswoman, and mentor was arguably the most politically influential black woman in Seattle in the latter half of the twentieth century. Born at … Read MoreFreddie Mae Hurd Gautier (1930–2001)

Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi (1854- )

Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church of Natchez, Mississippi, traces its origins as far back as 1837 in a shared legacy with First Baptist Church and later Wall Street Baptist Church, two predominantly white congregations in Natchez in 1850. It is, however, recognized as the oldest … Read MoreRose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi (1854- )

Dorothy Hollingsworth (1920-2022)

Dorothy Hollingsworth, a prominent educator and politician, achieved a number of “firsts” during her years in Seattle. The most important was becoming the first Black woman in Washington State’s history to serve on a school board. Born in Bishopville, South Carolina on October 29, 1920, … Read MoreDorothy Hollingsworth (1920-2022)