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

Black People Getting Their Just Dues


J.J. Jackson

When Dr. Martin Luther King got killed. Garfield had their first, and I believe their only, riot. They came across our property on 21st and Spruce. And they came across our lot, they came across in front of our house, and they were smashing windows and cars and all that, and my mama came out on the porch and said, "You smash something here if you want to, I’m gonna put a bullet in your ass." So they never smashed nothing at the Jackson’s home, OK? And they continued on through the CD. I remember asking mama, "Why are all these black people running across our lawn?" And she told me. And she said, "It’s the Civil Right movement." And I remember asking her, "What is that?" And she said, "It’s black people getting their just dues," is how she said it. And I was like, "Does that include me?" And she said "Yeah, you black!"