Shelf Life Community Story Project
Humanity. Home. History. Here.
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Tyree Scott and Medgar Evers Pool

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Michael Fox

Tyree Scott had been an electrician in the Marines, and he returned to Seattle and was working with his father, and it immediately became apparent to him and a number of others that the skilled trades were almost all white. Those unions had a workforce of probably a thousand each, and there were less than ten African Americans in each of those trades, as journeymen. So the tactic that was developed were job shutdowns, and these were right out of the civil rights movement playbook. One of the most memorable took place at the Medgar Evers Pool, which is the public swimming pool adjacent to Garfield High School. That project was being built in 1969 and 1969. Of course, it was named after Medgar Evers, the civil rights hero who was murdered in Jackson, Mississippi, and it was ironically being built by an all-white workforce, in the Center of the African American workforce, at 23rd and Cherry. More than 100 African American workers, in hard hats, surrounded that job project and demanded that the job be shut down until they had African Americans employed there.