Timeline: African American History in King County

Black Panthers demonstrating at federal courthouse, Seattle, 1969
Photo by Tom Barlet, Courtesy MOHAI (1986.5.52268.2)
wdt_ID Date Event
1 1858 Manuel Lopes— the first African American resident of King County— arrives in Seattle and soon afterwards opens a restaurant and becomes one of the first barbers in the city.
2 1883 John Conna— a Civil War veteran— and Mary Conna arrive and settle on 157 acres in Federal Way.
3 1886 The earliest African American church in the territory (eventually called First AfricanMethodist Episcopal or AME) is established by black Seattle residents.
4 1889 John Conna becomes the first black political appointee in the Washington Territory when Republican Party leaders appoint him Assistant Sergeant at Arms of the 1889 Washington Territorial House of Representatives.
5 Robert O. Lee arrives in Seattle and becomes the first practicing African American lawyer in Washington
6 1890 Isaac W. Austin becomes the first black Seattle police officer.
7 1891 First black coal miners arrive in Newcastle and Franklin in south King County.
8 1892 Seaborn Collins defeats John A. Coleman— the first black Democrat nominated for office in King County— in a general election for the position of wreckmaster to become the first African American elected official in King County.
9 1894 Horace Cayton establishes the Seattle Republican— the largest and most influential newspaper owned by African Americans in the state’s history.
10 1895 John Edward Hawkins becomes the first locally trained black lawyer admitted to the King County Bar.
Date Event