Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

Assassination of MLK

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Hayward Evans grew up in Seattle, was a director of the Central Area Motivation Program, and has worked as a community organizer for most of his life.

Hayward Evans

It was very, very sad when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Golly, I was in middle school, maybe. For our family it was extremely, like a week plus of grieving. When Malcolm X was assassinated, extremely troubling. And at that point, did we have riots? Yeah. Right here in Seattle. Did I participate? Yeah! But I had a black jacket and a tam, like the Panthers. But when I got home I had to hide it in a bag in the bushes! I couldn’t bring it in the house. My mother, she was more inclined to believe that you can push through issues with positive work and positive change, and the change begins with you. It begins with the person in the mirror.