In collaboration with the City of Shoreline, a King County Metro bus shelter on N 175th, just east of Meridian Ave. N. at Ronald Bog Park, is now a living photographic memorial to one of King County’s civil and human rights pioneers.
During the push for civil and human rights in the 1960’s, Edwin T. Pratt was a leader in putting an end to American Apartheid in Seattle and King County.
During this period, Pratt, who served as Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League, engaged in what the late Congressman John Lewis might have called “Good Trouble.”
Pratt worked to shatter the barriers that blocked communities of color from education, employment, fair treatment from law enforcement, and housing.
Pratt helped end the redlining practices of realtors and banks that had trapped Black people—and many of the communities of color living in Seattle in the 1960’s—to a limited number of neighborhoods, including the Rainier Valley and what was then known as the Central Area.
When Pratt, along with his wife Bettye and daughter Miriam, moved into a home in Shoreline near Ronald Bog Park, they were the first Black residents in their neighborhood.
In a situation similar to the issues still facing African Americans, Pratt worked to bring an end to unequal treatment by law enforcement. That effort included the formation of “Freedom Patrols,” which monitored the actions of Seattle Police and their interactions with African Americans in the Central Area.
Pratt collaborated in marches calling for an end to racial discrimination. He joined protests on the segregation of Seattle schools and urged the Seattle School District to improve educational opportunities for all children of color.
Edwin T. Pratt also was one of the organizers of the Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP), creating a human rights organization that changed lives through advocacy, community support, and training.
On January 26, 1969, a day after meeting with the board of the Urban League on the “A New Thrust” initiative to develop local economic tools the African-American community would need to thrive in this region, Edwin T. Pratt was shot at the front door of his Shoreline home.
Pratt was 38 years old. His assassination remains unsolved.
While there are memorials to the life and legacy of Edwin T. Pratt in Seattle, such as Edwin T. Pratt Park, and the Pratt Fine Arts Center, there was little celebrating his life in Shoreline, the city he called home, until only a few years ago.
In 2019, the Shoreline School District opened the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center, home to the district’s preschool and early learning programs.
Shortly after the dedication of the early learning center, the City of Shoreline and Metro began discussing the development of a shelter mural near the Pratt family home as part of Shoreline’s historic mural project.
During the event celebrating the installation of the mural, King County Metro General Manager Terry White spoke of the legacy of Edwin T. Pratt and how that legacy of equity and social justice plays a role in our regional mobility system.
“We prioritize equity to serve those with the greatest need for getting from a place to a place, said White. “Place is not just a physical address, place is socio-economic, place is one’s position within the social scale, place is a distinct condition, and place is a state of mind.”
The photos that are part of the mural celebrating the life of Edwin T. Pratt are courtesy of:
- Black Heritage Society of Washington State, Inc.
- Museum of History and Industry
- Seattle Municipal Archives
- Shoreline Historical Museum
The Pratt Shelter Mural is the newest addition to the photographic artwork and painted artwork that are part of Metro’s Bus Shelter Mural Program. The program beautifies neighborhoods and connects communities to public art.