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Civil rights

Carl Maxey (Courtesy Gonzaga University)
Winter 2015

Black Spokane

Dwayne Mack was, to say the least, skeptical when his faculty mentor at Washington State University, LeRoy Ashby, suggested he write his doctoral dissertation on Spokane’s black history.

“I thought to myself, ‘Wow, every time we pay a visit to Spokane, we rarely even see black people,’” recalls Mack, who was brought up in Brooklyn and received his master’s degree from a historically black college, North Carolina Central University. “There couldn’t be enough black people to do a study.”

Then he started researching Spokane’s African-American history and realized he had “struck gold.” Spokane’s African-American community was small—historically averaging between 1 and 2 percent of Spokane’s … » More …

Summer 2007

Dana Patterson: The path ahead

Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a small college community with a rich history of social justice. It was a stop on the Underground Railroad and, much later, home to Antioch College, where civil rights activist Coretta Scott King went to school.

Dana Patterson, who completed her doctorate in higher education administration at Washington State University last spring, was seeking a career that would lead her into social justice and human rights activism, when she applied to be first director of the new Coretta Scott King Center at Antioch. Looking at the job description, she realized, “It’s a perfect fit for me in light of what I … » More …

Fall 2005

Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights, and Small-Town Activism

“While those who act out violently—hate groups or lone wolves—may be few, the sentiments that lead them to believe their actions are acceptable stem from every-day bigotry and an unwillingness to confront it.” So writes Andrea Vogt to reflect the views of the late human rights activist Bill Wassmuth (1941–2002), as well as, one suspects, to warn the rest of us who are now left without his courageous leadership in the Northwest.

In Common Courage: Bill Wassmuth, Human Rights, and Small-Town Activism, Vogt chronicles Wassmuth’s life in the context of a discussion of the respective roles of education, religion, and community in eradicating the every-day … » More …

Summer 2002

“You can't just keep sweeping this stuff under the rug”

Washington State University’s 15th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration brought hundreds out to Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum in mid-January, despite a blizzard. Those who braved the storm were rewarded with an inspirational program of music, film, special recognitions, and a speech by Alabama civil rights lawyer Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dees has won dozens of important legal victories against hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, White Aryan Resistance, and most recently, the Aryan Nations in Idaho.

In September 2000, a jury of 12 Idahoans found The Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, along with several other members, liable … » More …