By Nancy Salguero McKay

Why should we celebrate Black history? Because it is our American History—because it is our personal history. Every aspect of our society and everyday culture is influenced by Black history! The foundation of our country is based on the contributions, the labor, and daily struggles of Black Americans.

How can we discuss our present or our past without the influence of our neighbors, our friends, or our communities? Why do we ignore how all of us are connected in one way or another? Why do we see more differences than similarities in each other? We all want the same thing—the same healthy community, the same safe neighborhood for our children to grow in, and to feel that we belong and are accepted as we are.

The “Black Lives Matter in American History Community Exhibit,” organized by the Highline Heritage Museum, traces the struggles and resilience of Black Americans who have fought for equity and justice from our nation’s beginnings to the present. The Black Lives Matter movement is a cry to end the tragedies of gun violence and systematic racism that Black communities have experienced for generations. This community exhibit features work by our local artists, community members, and students alongside stories of courage from Black history. Together, they reflect national and local perspectives on American history and the Black experience. 

In the installation of this community exhibit, we utilized 11 window fronts around downtown Burien. The Highline Heritage Museum was honored to collaborate with the African American Writers’ Alliance, Highline High School, Choice Black Student Union, Evergreen High School, Minor Matters, Lawtiwa Barbersalon, Classic Eats restaurant, local artists, and community members. This public exhibit runs from Feb. 5 to April 30, 2021.

In our preparation for this exhibit, we interviewed people who were able to share and vocalize their messages. There is a vulnerability to exposing your emotions in public. This project is not about them versus us; it is about slowing down for a moment and asking for understanding. We are honoring and celebrating Black History month, but this celebration should be organically happening every day. The importance of black history should be celebrated beyond February.

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 1

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 2

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 3

Here’s a map and photos of the exhibits, courtesy Maureen Hoffmann:

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 4

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 5

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 6

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 7

Learn why Black Lives Matter in American History at Community Exhibits around Burien 8

This article was written for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce by Board Member Nancy Salguero McKay. Nancy is the Executive Director of the Highline Heritage Museum located in Burien. The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and tell the stories of the Highline area and its people. For more information, please visit their website at

www.HighlineHistory.org

The Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila since 1988. For more information about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at

www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com

The Highline Heritage Museum is located at 819 SW 152nd Street in Burien: