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Spokane Field Work

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

We had a wonderful weekend exploring Spokane, one of many trips for field work in the course of the survey. We enjoyed wonderful community, great food, a wealth of historic sites to record, and the most beautiful midwinter weather you could ask for.

We visited the Carl Maxey Center in a beautiful and newly-remodeled space in a former auto garage. The center, a cultural hub providing cultural programs and community services, honors the lives of and service of Carl Maxey, a lawyer of the Civil Rights Era, and the late Sandy Williams, the center's former Executive Director. We met with a large contingent including the Maxey Center interim Executive Director Rick Williams, Pastor Amos Atkinson from Calvary Baptist Church, and City Councilwoman Betsy Wilkerson.

It was a joy to spend the better part of Saturday at Calvary Baptist Church. Founded in 1890, Calvary is one of the two oldest Black churches in the state. We were documenting the 1927 brick building for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, one of two National Register nominations we are preparing for the project. We had a glorious lunch at CHKN-N-MO, and were honored to be joined by Bob Hemphill, who founded the fried chicken and BBQ joint 30 years ago.

When we weren't actively meeting with members of the community, or the knowledgeable staff at the Spokane Historic Preservation office, we were driving around the city, documenting more than 30 sites with historic links to Spokane's Black community. The staff at Spokane Historic Preservation is working hard to balance the narrative and include Black Historic Sites in the historic record. We were delighted to discover Spokane's vibrancy as a living city stemming from the significant contributions of Black Spokane and their important historic sites.

photos above:

  1. Members of our team drove from Seattle to Spokane: Project lead Monette Hearn, junior assistant Frankie M., Senior writer Katie Jaeger, and Architectural historian Ellen Mirro.

  2. Some of the delicious food at CHKN-N-MO: fried chicken, green beans, the best coleslaw, and gumbo.

  3. Calvary Baptist Church signage

  4. a view of the Calvary Baptist Church

  5. Monette and Ellen meeting with Rick Williams, Betsy Wilkerson, and Amos Atkinson

  6. Monette and City Preservation Officer Megan Duvall

  7. Ellen photographed the Martin Luther King Community Center

  8. Monette and Ellen at Liberty Park

  9. The former Mikes Grocery, a historically owned Black business

  10. The first four floors of today's Davenport tower is the former Desert Hotel, a safe place for Black folks to stay listed in the Green Book.

  11. The iconic Davenport Hotel

  12. A view of Spokane Falls

  13. Chey Bryant, Treasurer of the Calvary Baptist Church, Monette, and Shyesta Kennedy, Front Office Assistant Manager at the Davenport Hotel

  14. Shyesta Kennedy and Monette at the Davenport Hotel

  15. Monette with a Black History event student writer

  16. Chey Bryant and Monette at the Davenport Hotel

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