Recent University of Washington grad creates public programs at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle.

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Patricia Mary Allen-Dick

What do you do? I am a one-woman education department, creating all of the public programs for education at the Northwest African American Museum. I am in charge of creating all education curriculum for our exhibits, training our docents, creating the public programs for our genealogy department, creating more programs to reach out to schools and organizations while amplifying educators, running our annual Youth Curator Program, and leading our annual events in education such as MLK Day.

How did you get started in that field? Studying civil/human rights and ethnic studies in my undergrad and a having a background in music, the intersections of social, political and art history fascinate me. This position has provided a creative outlet of intersecting art, history, administrative work and social justice through education. This is my first position in museum programming/education. 

What’s a typical day like? When I am not organizing programs with community members and organizations, I am educating school groups about the rich and complex history we of color have in the Northwest. I also spend much time engaging with the community, especially elders, to learn their interpretations of our history in the Central District. 

What’s the best part of the job? What I like best about this position is teaching new transplants as well as youth of the South Seattle area about redlining and its relationship to gentrification, Black Lives Matter and our history of solidarity as well as struggles to learn from. Teaching this knowledge helps create conversations around healing and building solidarity. 

What surprises people about what you do? The amount of history adults are learning about African Americans in the Northwest, especially pioneers such as George Washington Bush. As a multi-ethnic black and Native woman, I have had many opportunities to share my own story of my grandparents’ migration to the Central District from Massachusetts in the ’50s. Not all, but many, original stories of black migration in the Northwest directly come from refuge: finding a better quality of life from segregation, post-slavery communities and Jim Crow Laws. Learning about significant histories such as the Hanford Project helps others understand that inequalities have been experienced here as well, but not as openly discussed, yet have been very well documented/preserved through art. 

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