In the late 1800's and early 1900's, Upper Kittitas County, consisting of Cle Elum, Roslyn, and Ronald, was a melting pot of cultures. The mining industry attracted people from all over the United States and the World
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The following is a portion of "Black History Recognized," an article published in the Cle Elum High School Newspaper "Sparks," Volume 71, Number 5, Page 1, February 1990.
Northwest African American History
If it weren't for the Bush-Simmons party, Washington probably would not be what it is today. George Washington Bush and the Bush-Simmons party helped found Washougal and Bush Prarie, Washington.
Black women were major contributors to our region. Some of the groups were Cloverleaf Art Club, The Matrons, and Mary McLeal Bethune Chapter of the Women's Temperance Union. Others included Irene McCoy Gaines Improvement Club and the Stafford Study Club, founded by Eliza McCabe, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded by Nettie Asberry.
Roslyn Black History
Many African Americans came to our state in search of jobs in mining towns. African Americans became a majority in Roslyn. They had their own churches, schools, and group organizations.
In 1888, about fifty African American miners and their families were brought into Roslyn, In the 1976 election, Roslyn elected its first black mayor, William Craven. He was not only Roslyn's first black mayor, but Washinton's as well.
Mr. Craven still lives in Roslyn with his wife Virginia, sons Tony, Tom, Timmy, Teddy, and Casey, and their only daughter Corrine. In addition to the Cravens, other African Americans who have lived in the Upper County were the Strongs, Scotts, Olds, Robert McCalley, Harts, Quincy Epps, T. W. Donaldson, and the Claxtons.
Written by Ericka Van Meter and Dawn Eldhardt