March 2, 2021

Black History Month: An Ongoing Story

The month of February is recognized across the United States and Canada as Black History Month. Some have begun to refer to February as Black Herstory Month, celebrating women of color throughout history who have changed our world for the better. Today is the first day of March, and with it brings a celebration of Women’s History Month. As we celebrate the progress of women, we can’t forget that no woman is uplifted until all women are uplifted. Both Black history and women’s history are still being written in our community, and our efforts to progress each story rely on one another for mutual success.

Vision for The Carl Maxey Center

As Black History Month comes to an end, it’s important we keep the needs of our community in mind as we carry on the legacies of those who came before us. The Carl Maxey Center here in Spokane is working to do just that. As an African American lawyer in Spokane in the 1960’s, Carl Maxey overcame many obstacles to become the local civil rights icon we recognize him to be today. The Carl Maxey Center is part of our current journey through history, and its Executive Director, Sandra Williams is sure to be recognized by future generations as a local shero.

As a young girl, Sandra’s world changed when she learned that she could “write something to change something.” Starting with writing to change school policies that were affecting her and other young women, she launched a career in activism. We can see her philosophy of writing for change most prominently in her work, as editor and publisher of the Black Lens News, which gives readers an insight into the current issues and celebrations facing Eastern Washington’s African American community.

Sandra has worked with other local activists including Rev. Walter Kendricks to found Spokane Community Against Racism (SCAR), as well as her latest project, the Carl Maxey Center. The Maxey Center “is committed to changing lives, improving the well-being and furthering the educational, economic and cultural opportunities for African Americans in Spokane and the greater community.” As supporters and allies of this work, we can help get this community center going by volunteering or donating online. On the website carlmaxeycenter.org you can find forms to do both of these things, as well as a directory of local Black-owned businesses you can support with your patronage.

Yes, our celebration of Black History Month must come to an end, but our celebration of the ongoing history that is being built in Spokane’s communities of color never ends. Thank you for being a part of it!

Stay tuned for more posts as we celebrate women who continue to shape history.


Other Resources

To view a list of local organizations who focus on racial equity and justice for all visit: ywcaspokane.org/racialjustice#rsjpartners

By: Rachel Dannen

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