The Roots of Roslyn’s Diverse Past Discussed at April 3 Central on Stage | CWU Public Affairs

Posted: March 30, 2012

Raymond A. Hall, Central Washington University professor of Africana and Black Studies, will present “Kings, Knights, and Pawns: African Americans Forging Group Identities Through Adversity” at Central on Stage at Raw Space, at 7 p.m. on April 3. Raw Space is located on 4th Avenue between Pearl and Pine Streets in Ellensburg. The event is free and open to the public.

This presentation will focus on black strikebreaking and the subsequent development of a folk group composed of black coal miners and their families in Roslyn from 1888 to 1910. Hall will also address how folk groups are developed within adversity, especially in geographic areas with distinct, segregated groups.

The pawn of choice in the labor disputes that followed the development of the transcontinental railway was the newly freed black labor force that was recruited, knowingly or unknowingly, for the sole purpose of breaking strikes.

Hall recently received a $5,000 National Trust for Historic Preservation Partnership-in-Scholarship Grant for “African American Migration to the Roslyn, Washington Coal Field,” in collaboration with CWU’s Kathleen Barlow, chair, anthropology, and Nick Henderson, president, Roslyn Museum. It was selected as one of four projects that have the potential to serve as national models.

Hall is currently researching the Northern Pacific Railway Company and Northwestern Improvement Company to learn how they used blacks to break strikes through 1890 and the subsequent increase in Roslyn’s black population. Hall’s current book project is the Transcription and Translation of the Church Archives of Tamiahua, Veracruz, Mexico from 1693-1847. His published works include An Ethnographic Study of Afro-Mexicans in Mexico’s Gulf Coast: Fishing, Festivals, and Foodways. Hall received his doctorate from Indiana University in 1999.

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