Every week the Town Crier blog will look back at Seattle’s near forgotten Town Crier magazine to see what was happening then and talk about what’s happening now. One of the largest sections of the original Town Crier was “What People Are Doing,” highlighting things like, “Cebert Baillargeron of this city is now in Paris on duty with the Naval personnel of the Peace Conference,” and, “the second of a series of Victory dances was given at the New Masonic Temple.” In this new series we’re revisiting the old column and tying it to our community’s current happenings, asking: “what are people doing?”
There was a discussion of the citizenship of the Japanese in the January 25, 1919 edition of the Town Crier. “Really, The Town Crier, ever sincere in its admiration for consistency, is not at all able to convince itself that there is any justice in racial discrimination in regard to citizenship.” They suggested that the criterion for eligibility should be something else than ethnological classification. The tests for citizenship should be education, physical and moral fitness, and “wealth to a degree sufficient to insure against becoming a public charge.” Those criteria—not the matter of birthplace. “We of Seattle have among us Japanese gentlemen of culture, refinement and sterling character, whom it is a pleasure to know and to associate with.” The story continues, “They pay their taxes, and their creditors, lend active support to every public enterprise and do their best to build up the city and their own businesses…So far as one can judge by their speech or conduct, no one of us has Seattle’s best interests more at heart.”
In the heart of Seattle’s International District is the Wing Luke Museum. As a National Park Service Affiliated Area and the first Smithsonian affiliate in the Pacific Northwest, the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience offers an authentic and unique perspective on the American story. The museum is nationally recognized for their work in creating dynamic, community-driven exhibitions and programs with their community at the heart of each exhibition they create.
From the struggles of early Asian pioneers, like those sterling Japanese mentioned in the Town Crier, to accomplished works by national Asian Pacific American artists, the Wing Luke Museum showcases their uniquely American story.
Current exhibits include “Worlds Beyond Here,” exploring the connection between Asian Pacific Americans and the infinite possibilities of science fiction; and “Wham! Bam! Pow!,” an exhibit featuring the works of Vishavjit Singh, AKA Sikh Captain America, who spoke at Town Hall this past October.
Learn more about the Wing Luke here.