Plan to connect CD, Hill with honorary Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Ave moves forward — Plus, Juneteenth celebration

A Seattle Juneteenth past (Image: Central District News)

A Seattle Juneteenth past (Image: Central District News)


The process to create an honorary Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue running along 19th Ave between E Union and E Republican connecting the Central District and Capitol Hill moves forward this week with the second of two public meetings on the proposed designation.

And, remember, this is about creating an honorary designation — not the logistically challenging name change the original announcement of the plan described. From City Council member Tom Rasmussen after our original post on the plan:

I am receiving e-mails opposing the honorary sign. Because of what people are writing I think there is a misunderstanding! This is an “honorary sign”. This is not a name change of 19th Avenue that requires map changes and all of that.

Rasmussen provided the example of the “Gerard Schwarz Way” sign on top of the University Street sign at the corner of Second Avenue outside Benaroya Hall.

This week also features Seattle’s annual Juneteenth celebration. The Central Area Chamber of Commerce says it is expanding this year’s event:

Our new name is “Juneteenth International Festival” and this is our first annual event hosted under this name. The Juneteenth International Festival is a three day event taking place June 7th, 8th, and 9th. People will enjoy food, music, and entertainment including plays and poetry.

Friday is a part of our city’s Juneteenth celebration in which youth are invited to our ice cream social, and to learn about respect and community. Waylon Robert will be one of our keynote speakers. He is a youth advocate for the community is following in the footsteps of his great great uncle, former governor of Missouri. Awarded by King County executive Dow Constantine, for his preservation advocacy, Waylon advocates to keep historic buildings intact in the community. In 6th grade, he nominated the Bush House in Index, WA for Washington’s most endangered buildings list, and this led to the restoration of this historic resource. He is a part of the Seattle Youth Commission, and is focusing his efforts on preserving the Rainier Valley and Central District community. Saturday is international day. There will be poetry, singing, and dancing to help celebrate the sharing of culture, the empowerment of people, and creating awareness of different cultures. The performers will be representing various nationalities, such as the Philippines, Somalia, and Africa, to name a few. Sunday is church in the park day. Reverend Emmanuel Sopher will be chairing this part of the event, which will include a guitar on legs, with a history lesson of its Ireland legacy. Local choirs from the community will be coming to celebrate and perform. The “big buzz “will be the singing, dancing, and cheering. The great musical performances, a short play, poetry and education are a key part of this day, with focus on great inventions and unsung inventors. We will be jumping!

You can learn more at Details on Tuesday night’s Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue meeting are below.

Councilmembers Harrell and Rasmussen call second community meeting on honorary street naming to recognize Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney


SEATTLE – Councilmembers Bruce Harrell and Tom Rasmussen announced the second public meeting to hear public feedback on plans for an “honorary” street naming of sections of 19th Avenue after Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney.  The legal name of 19th Avenue would not change nor would the official addresses on the street.  The honorary name change would designate the secondary name for 19th Avenue between E. Union St. and E. Republican St. as “Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Avenue.”


Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee stated, “I am very pleased to listen to members of the community who began the dialogue about honoring Rev. Dr. McKinney. For over 40 years, he has been a civil rights leader, as well as a minister who has positively influenced all of Seattle.  Rev. McKinney has been the conscience of our city and has made a lasting mark on race and social justice issues.  Rev. McKinney and his late wife, Louise, have made a lasting impact on 19th Avenue in Seattle and beyond.”


Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, stated, “Seattle should honor Rev. Dr. Samuel B.McKinney, and I support Councilmember Bruce Harrell’s proposal for the honorary designation of ‘Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinneyAvenue’ on 19th Avenue between E. Union and E. Republican Streets.


Councilmember Rasmussen continued, “Rev. Dr. McKinney has dedicated his life to his church and community. He is a man of many achievements, serving as one of the original members of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, lecturing and teaching at colleges around the nation and opening a church-run Credit Union which strived to assist community members who were unable to open bank accounts and conduct financial transactions in traditional banks. I hope to see his legacy live on through the years.”


The second community meeting is scheduled on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.



WHAT:           Community Meeting on Honorary Street Naming of 19th Avenue

WHEN:          Tuesday, June 4, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE:        Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave. Seattle, WA 98122

WHO:             Councilmember Bruce A. Harrell

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen


Ø  Link to Rev. Dr. Samuel McKinney’s biography:

Ø  Email your perspective on the honorary naming of portions of 19th Avenue (from E. Union to E. Republican Streets) to [email protected] or [email protected]


3 thoughts on “Plan to connect CD, Hill with honorary Rev. Dr. Samuel B. McKinney Ave moves forward — Plus, Juneteenth celebration

  1. Rasmussen received emails opposing the honory name. Wow, that shows the state of community affairs in the hood. And I wonder from who and why? Never mind, that’s easy to answer.

    • Chill…. if you’d read it closer, he thought people were opposing an outright name change for the street – which is not unprecedented. It often leads to a lot of confusion, a hassle for the residents (who would need to change their address with everyone who sends them mail) and a whole lot of expense for any businesses. It’s not too hard to understand how they might misunderstand, until it’s spelled out, it does sound like that.