By Jonathan Freedman, Feet First Policy Committee
Urban trails are a great way to explore and learn about cities. Feet First is honored to be a part of a new trail under development that will connect Seattle’s Chinatown-International District to the Central District. The project is co-led by the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience (The Wing) and the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM).
This new urban connection, scheduled to open in March 2019, will focus on the history of exclusionary housing practices in Seattle — most starkly, through redlining, where white-only clauses prohibited People of Color and Jews from buying or renting homes in particular neighborhoods, and telling the stories of historical discrimination experienced by these two communities. The Japanese American Remembrance Trail, which launched earlier this year, serves as a model for the new connector trail between the Chinatown-Internal District and the Central Area.
The trail and guide will illuminate the historical ties and collaboration between minorities and communities of color, exploring the legacies of both. The project also will examine how the history of these communities inform the current circumstances in these two neighborhoods.
This connector trail will be a thought-provoking, informative tour that takes visitors to culturally, politically, and economically significant sites. If a building or amenity no longer exists, people will have the information to examine why that structure no longer exists and the ways in which its removal affected the neighborhood.
At a recent planning meeting, community members shared detailed stories about the surprising ways minority communities of the two neighborhoods interacted and helped each other, and the places they met in order to talk with one another. People will discover these joint efforts and spaces along the trail.
In addition to making these neighborhood’s histories available to people, the project aims to be easily accessible to everyone. Feet First is proud to assist in this effort to ensure that the trail is easy to navigate for walkers of all ages and abilities.
The two museums and the National Park Service are leading a large group, including Seattle Parks Department, City and State DOTs, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Mountains-to-Sound Greenway, Bike Works, Feet First, and numerous community members. A follow-up meeting is planned in January. A test walk will be scheduled before the exhibit and trail opening in March 2019.
Click here to find out about the Japanese American Remembrance Trail, including tours, site descriptions and to download the map.