Saturday, February 2, 2013

DeCharlene Williams, Chamber of Commerce President. Boutique Owner & Writer

DeCharlene Williams has long tended the Central Area Chamber of Commerce
kept track of local history and published her own books on the neighborhood. 

Ms. De Charlene Williams. Photo: Madeline Crowley 

My name is De Charlene Williams, I’m located at 2108 E. Madison and have been here since April 1968 when they were killing Martin Luther King. I’m still standing because the Lord Jesus Christ is my Savior. He has guided me and put me on this path, protected me, wanted me to stay right here and be a voice for this community.

I want people to know that we had organized crime here in this area through crooked policemen, crooked mayors and crooked city councils. The only person who tried to help us was a man called Sam Smith, a Councilman, now deceased. I want you to know what happened to the black businesses, the ones that wanted to do right were forced to do wrong or were pushed out of existence.

Our community was redlined (real estate covenants) preventing sales to people of color). Black people were pushed out of existence, hardworking black people were killed for their property. This has been going on ever since 1968 when I moved onto this corner of Madison Street. I have been here a long time; I built this community. I’ve been on this corner for 45 years so I have been here for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

This interview is now available in the book, We Lived Here, published by Chin Music Press:
Miss Helen soul food kitchen.

Seattle Times, May 14 1976. Page C7
 (History on the land taken for the interstate)

This interview was conducted over a number of visits for follow up questions.  De Charlene Williams granted my request to participate in this project and has been very kind in sharing her time and her views. 

 ©  Madeline Crowley People of the Central Area 2015   All material is covered by copyright. Express written permission must be given for any copyrighted material on this page. Email to request permission to copy or paste materials. 

This project was supported in part by 
4Culture's Heritage Projects program 

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About Me

Seattle, WA, United States
I am not a professional photographer nor a trained journalist. At community meetings, it became clear that many of us don’t know each other. We haven’t heard each other’s stories and don't know each other’s circumstances. This is my attempt to give a few people the chance to tell their story, to talk about our community, to say their piece in peace. As such, comments have been disabled. The views and opinions expressed here are those of each narrator and do not necessarily reflect the position of views of the CentralAreaComm.blogspot blog site itself. The is not responsible for the accuracy of any information supplied by narrators of this project. All interviews have been edited and in places condensed.

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