Monday, August 8, 2011

5 questions with the authors of "Seattle in Black and White"


1. What inspired you to put this book together?

A desire to remember and preserve this historical period accurately. The initial inspiration for writing Seattle in Black and White happened at the memorial service for a friend who was involved in the civil rights movement.  Although the eulogy was positive, much of what was said was inaccurate.  Also in recent years there were articles in the newspapers  alluding to events during the civil rights struggle of the 60s that were incorrect.  We simply decided that we had to set the record straight.  Our combined mission was to record Seattle's history and make clear that the civil rights movement did not happen only in the South; it happened all over the United States.

2. Which section of the book did you find easiest and most natural to write?

Bettylou says it for all of us: "One in which I was an actual participant." Joan adds: "Since I have never written anything but a term paper for college, the book  did not seem 'easy' to write at any time.  I was comfortable with telling the story but it was the combined talent of four authors that made it interesting."

 3. Did the final product come out as you envisioned it when you first started?
The final product was much greater in content and scope than we originally envisioned.  We are pleased at how many personal touches enliven the factual text. The uncovering of FBI files and police files served to explain many events that happened 50 years ago that we were able to include in the book. 

4. What is the best compliment you have received on the book? 

Many readers are surprised that Seattle had such a history and thank us continually. They want us to know how much they appreciate the time we invested in explaining in great detail what was involved in attempting to end racial discrimination in Seattle  during the 1960s.

5. What are some new and upcoming things we can expect from you?

Bettylou's response: "Nothing, nothing, nothing." (We began this book in 2002, and it was finally published in March 2011.) The four authors  are all in our late 70s and do not expect to do another book.  We now have separate agendas. Maid feels free to be actively retired. Joan is working on is a family history for her grandchildren. "They are growing up in the electronic age and I grew up in a time without indoor plumbing and a four party telephone line. I feel family histories are important and wished that someone in my large family had done that for me." Jean may do something of the sort for her grandchildren.

What we do hope for is that our readers will take up the challenges ahead for our communities and our country. We hope we inspire you that a committed  group can accomplish important results.

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