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Latino Heritage in King County / Patrimonio Latino en la Area Metropólitana de Seattle

Today, the Greater Seattle area has a vibrant Latino community spread across numerous neighborhoods and outlying cities. In some places, Latinos represent nearly 30 percent of the population. For example, Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and nearby White Center community are long established centers for King County’s Latino culture, serving as home to many Latino families and businesses. The cities of Sea Tac and Burien, in contrast, are emerging as relatively new and sizable, culturally recognizable Latino neighborhoods.

Prior to the 1940s, there were few Latino residents in the Greater Seattle area, or King County in general. But, during World War II, many Latinos migrated there for work in the wartime industries, especially shipbuilding and aircraft assembly jobs. These early economic migrants were primarily of Mexican descent, referring to themselves as Mexicans, Texans (those from Texas), and so on. In 1946, the Boeing aviation company laid off more than half of its workers in the post-war slow down, and most of those newly unemployed workers left King County in search of jobs elsewhere. Many returned to agricultural work in the Yakima Valley.

Starting in the late 1960s, a second wave of Latino residents came to the University of Washington. Almost all of them were recruited from farming communities in the Yakima Valley and were the first in their families to pursue professional careers. Those pioneers had a lasting impact not only on the University but the Seattle area in general. They brought a strong work ethic, pride in their culture, and more awareness for social issues affecting minorities, such as the national farmworker and labor rights movement at the time.

The 1970s, though, is the decade when the Greater Seattle’s Latino community began to flourish and take permanent root. The 1970s witnessed the establishment of significant social justice and community service organizations such as Sea Mar Community Health and the Center of Race, both of which have become strong voices for the Latino community in the region. The 1970s also brought new immigrants from other countries, seeking asylum from political upheaval. For example, the 1973 military coup in Chile sent many political refugees to the Seattle area. New arrivals from Central and South America continued to settle in the Seattle area in the 1980s and 1990s.

This special focus on Latino culture in the Greater Seattle area has identified sample destinations, or waypoints, to help illustrate the development of the Latino community in King County. Some of the themes (and sample sites) highlighted include:


Today, the Seattle metropolitan area has a vibrant Latino community spread throughout numerous neighborhoods and adjoining cities. In some places, Latinos represent about 30 percent of the population. For example, the neighborhood of South Park in Seattle and the nearby White Center community are established centers of Latino culture in King County, serving as home to many Latino families and businesses for decades. The cities of Sea Tac and Burien, in contrast, are emerging as new and identifiable neighborhoods of Latino culture.

Prior to the 1940s, there were few Latino residents in the Seattle metropolitan area and King County in general. But, during the Second World War, many Latinos immigrated here to work in the war industry, especially in naval work and aircraft assembly. These first economic migrants were mainly born in Mexico, Mexicans, or Texas-born Mexican parents, calling themselves Texans. In 1946, the aviation company Boeing dismissed more than half of its workers in the post-war slowdown, and the vast majority of these newly unemployed left the King County in search of work elsewhere. Many returned to field work in the Yakima Valley.

Beginning in the late 1960s, a second wave of Latino residents arrived as students to attend the University of Washington. Almost all of them were recruited from farming communities in the Yakima Valley and were the first in their family to seek a career. These pioneers had a lasting impact not only on the University, but on the Seattle area in general. They brought with them a strong work ethic, pride in their culture, and more awareness of social problems affecting minorities at that time, such as the union of peasants and the labor rights movement.

The Seventies is, however, when the Latino community in the Seattle metropolitan area begins to flourish and take root. The 1970s witnessed the establishment of significant social justice and community service organizations such as the Sea Mar Community Clinic and El Centro de la Raza; both have become strong spokespersons for the Latino community in the region. The seventies also brought new migrants from other Latin countries, who sought asylum from political turmoil. Newcomers from Central and South America continued to settle in the Seattle area in the eighties and nineties.

This special focus on Latino culture in the Seattle metropolitan area has identified a sampling of destinations, or waypoints, to help illustrate the development of the Latino community in King County. Some of the highlighted themes and sample sites include:

Commerce/Comercio

From dress shops to bakeries and restaurants, these businesses have kept Latino culture thriving. (See the Salvadorean Bakery, Panaderia La Ideal, Jalisco Mexican Restaurant (South Park), Decoraciones Ely, and more.)

Desde tiendas de vestidos a panaderías y restaurantes, estos negocios han mantenido viva la cultura latina. (Ver Panaderia Salvadoreña, Panaderia La Ideal, Restaurante Jalisco en South Park, Decoraciones Ely, y más).

Education/Educación

The Students of ’68 (see video for the University of Washington) paved the way for more Latino students to pursue higher education. Proyecto Saber, a dropout prevention program started for the Seattle public schools in 1975, was based out of Chief Sealth High School. Places like Casa Latina today offer English language classes, among other programs. Bilingual schools such as Holy Family School offer classes in English and Spanish.

Los estudiantes del ‘68 (ver video de la Universidad de Washington) abrieron brecha para que más estudiantes latinos buscarán alcanzar una educación superior. Proyecto Saber, un programa de prevención de deserción iniciado por las escuelas públicas de Seattle en 1975, de base en la Escuela Superior Chief Sealth. Hoy en día, lugares como Casa Latina ofrecen clases de Inglés a la par de otros programas de apoyo. Escuelas bilingües como Holy Family ofrecen clases en Inglés y Español.

Art/Arte

Several significant murals related to Latino heritage are scattered around Seattle, as well as many more examples of street art around various neighborhoods such as South Park. (See Kane Hall/UW, Ethnic Cultural Center at UW, El Centro de la Raza, and video segments.)

Considerable número de murales relativos al patrimonio latino están localizados por todo Seattle, así como muchos más ejemplos de arte urbano alrededor de vecindarios como South Park. (Ver Kane Hall/UV, Ethnic Cultural Center en UW, El Centro de la Raza, y videos).

Social Justice & Civil Rights/Justicia Social & Derechos Civiles.

Seattle has a strong history of Latino leaders who have formed prominent organizations such as Sea Mar, El Centro de la Raza, and Casa Latina. All of these serve as models for social justice, civil/labor/immigrant rights and health care services.

Seattle tiene una fuerte historia de líderes latinos que han formado organizaciones prominentes como Sea Mar, El Centro de la Raza y Casa Latina. Todos estos, modelos de justicia social, derechos civiles /laborales/migrantes y servicios de atención médica.

Religion/Religión

Churches can be anchor points for communities, and several churches in the Seattle area serve as cultural havens for Latinos. The churches here selected all offer masses in Spanish and some flavor of Central or South America.

Las iglesias pueden ser ancla en una comunidad, y varias iglesias en el área de Seattle sirven como refugios culturales para latinos. Las iglesias aquí seleccionadas ofrecen misas en Español y la atmósfera de Latinoamérica.

This project is made possible through generous support provided by

Images

2018 image of piñatas for sale at La Ideal in South Park

2018 image of bakers at work at La Ideal in South Park

2018 photo of Estela Ortega, Director of El Centro de la Raza

Cultural Waypoints Points of Interest icon

Barron’s Barbershop/Hispanic American Social Club/Peluquería Barron/Club Social Hispano Americano

Built in 1901, this building historically served as a single family home. But, as the neighborhood changed, so did the house. In 1954, Manuel Barron bought the building and opened a barbershop and social club.

Construido en 1901, este edificio había funcionado por décadas como una casa unifamiliar, pero, conforme el vecindario fue transformándose, también la casa. En 1954 Manuel Barron compró el edificio y abrió una peluquería y club social.

Visit Barron’s Barbershop/Hispanic American Social Club/Peluquería Barron/Club Social Hispano Americano

Casa Latina

In 1994, Casa Latina was founded when large numbers of Latino workers began arriving to Seattle. Many of them lined up on the street in the Belltown neighborhood to wait for day jobs. Casa Latina was begun as a way to organize themselves and demand fair and just working conditions.

En 1994, Casa Latina fue fundada cuando un gran número de trabajadores Latinos comenzaron a llegar a Seattle. Hacían filas por días en las calles del vecindario de Belltown esperando un trabajo. Casa Latina comenzó como una manera de organizarse a si mismos y demandar condiciones de trabajo adecuadas y un trato justo.

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Cesar Chavez Park/Parque César Chávez

This public park takes inspiration from Cesar Estrada Chavez, a 20th century labor activist and human rights leader who championed the rights of farm workers. The park is enriched by the sculpture titled “Musical Steles”, a donation by the recognized stone sculptor Jesus Bautista Moroles.

Este parque público toma como inspiración a César Estrada Chávez, un activista trabajador del siglo XX y líder de derechos humanos que luchó por los derechos de los trabajadores del campo. El parque es enriquecido por la escultura titulada “Estelas Musicales”, donada por el reconocido escultor de piedra Jesus Bautista Moroles.

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Chief Sealth High School

Chief Sealth High School was established in 1954 from the need to serve the growing and multicultural population of southwest Seattle.  When ‘Proyecto Saber’ (translates to Project To Know) pioneered in 1975 as a counseling and tutoring program for Latino/Chicano students, it operated out of Sealth.

La Escuela Superior Chief Sealth fue establecida en 1954 de la necesidad de servir a la creciente y multicultural población del sudoeste de Seattle. Cuando Proyecto Saber fue pionero en 1975 como un programa de asesoría y tutelaje para estudiantes Latino/Chicanos, operaba desde Sealth.

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Christ the King/Iglesia de Cristo Rey

Christ the King is a bilingual catholic church serving the Latino community in North Seattle. Build in 1949, the clean design and circular interior space is reminiscent of modern churches across Mexico.

Cristo Rey es una parroquia católica bilingüe que da servicio a la comunidad latina de la zona norte de Seattle. Construida en 1949, el sencillo diseño y espacio interior circular recuerdan a las iglesias modernas de México.

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Decoraciones Ely

A long time business at White Center, Decoraciones Ely is a traditional dress shop, packed with religious accessories to commemorate various Catholic festivities as well as colorful garments to dress both infants and adults.

Un negocio ya de muchos años, Decoraciones Ely es una tienda tradicional de vestidos llena de artículos religiosos para conmemorar fiestas católicas ,así como coloridos atuendos para vestir tanto bebés como adultos.

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El Centro de la Raza

In October 1972, a group of visionary activists peacefully took over the vacant, dilapidated Beacon Hill Elementary School.

En Octubre de 1972, un grupo de activistas visionarios, tomó posesión pacíficamente de la desocupada y deteriorada escuela primaria de Beacon Hill.

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Ethnic Cultural Center

The relatively new building which houses the University of Washington’s Ethnic Cultural Center has some significant artwork, including a mural on the ceiling (best seen from the 3rd floor) of the main space. Titled “Aztlan,” the mural was done by Emilio Aguayo in 1971 and relocated from elsewhere on campus to this building in recent years.

El relativamente nuevo edificio del Centro Cultural Étnico de la Universidad de Washington alberga piezas de arte significativas, incluyendo un mural que cuelga del techo del espacio central del recinto (mejor apreciado desde el tercer piso). Titulado “Aztlán”, el mural fue hecho por Emilio Aguayo en 1971 y reubicado de su ubicación original a este edificio en años recientes.

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Franklin High School

In March of 1968, a young Roberto Maestas was part of the faculty at Franklin High School in southeast Seattle. Maestas, recently graduated from the University of Washington, was working as a Spanish teacher when a now legendary sit-in led by members of the Black Student Union took place at Franklin High.

En Marzo de 1968, un joven Roberto Maestas era parte del cuerpo de maestros de la Escuela Superior Franklin en el sudeste de Seattle. Recientemente graduado de la Universidad de Washington, Maestas estaba trabajando como maestro de español cuando la, ahora legendaria ocupación de la oficina del director encabezada por miembros del Black Student Union, ocurrió.

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Salvadorean Bakery/Panaderia Salvadoreña

The Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant is a local favorite for authentic desserts and more from Central America. This family business was founded in 1996 by two sisters who emigrated to Seattle from El Salvador.

El restaurante y panaderia Salvadoreña es un favorito entre los locales por sus auténticos postres centroamericanos y más. Este negocio familiar fue fundado en 1996 por dos hermanas que emigraron a Seattle desde El Salvador.

Visit Salvadorean Bakery/Panaderia Salvadoreña

Sea Mar Community Health/Sea Mar Clínica de la Comunidad

To meet the need for bilingual, community based health care, local Latino leaders and health activists formed Sea Mar Community Health. This organization, established in 1978, opened its first health clinic in South Park. Today, Sea Mar operates health related facilities across the state -- but South Park is still their headquarters.

Para cubrir la necesidad de un servicio comunitario de  salud bilingüe, líderes latinos locales y activistas formaron Sea Mar Clínica de la Comunidad. Esta organización, establecida en 1978, abrió su primer clínica de salud en South Park. Actualmente, Sea Mar opera servicios de salubridad a lo largo del estado, pero South Park sigue siendo su base.

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South Park neighborhood/Vecindario de South Park

The former town of South Park has been part of Seattle since it was annexed in 1907. Throughout its history, people who have called South Park their home, from farmers to blue-collar workers, have come from very diverse backgrounds.

El antiguo poblado de South Park ha sido parte de Seattle desde que fue anexado en 1907. A lo largo de su historia, la gente que ha llamado a South Park su hogar, de granjeros a obreros, ha provenido de antecedentes muy variados.

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Southeast Seattle

Compromising the neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City and the Rainier Valley, this multicultural enclave is home to significant sites of the Latino community of Seattle. Immigrant communities have flourished in this area for decades, and people of every ethnicity now call Southeast Seattle home. 

Incluyendo los vecindarios de Beacon Hill, Mount Baker, Columbia City y Rainier Valley, este enclave multicultural es hogar de sitios altamente significativos para la comunidad latina de Seattle. Comunidades de inmigrantes han florecido en esta área por décadas, y gente de todo tipo de grupo étnico vive ahora en esta zona sudeste de Seattle.

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St. Edward’s Church and School/Iglesia y Escuela de San Eduardo

Offering mass in Spanish to serve the Latino community of Southeast Seattle, St. Edward’s Church built in 1957 is a magnificent example of Mid-century Modern religious architecture.

Ofreciendo misas en español para atender a la comunidad latina del sudeste de Seattle, la Iglesia de San Eduardo construida en 1957 es un magnífico ejemplo de arquitectura religiosa moderna de mediados del siglo XX.

Visit St. Edward’s Church and School/Iglesia y Escuela de San Eduardo

St. Mary’s Church/Iglesia de Santa María

Saint Mary’s is a diverse parish serving a primarily immigrant community. Masses are celebrated in both English and Spanish, and the church calendar is filled with cultural events showcasing the diversity of its parishioners.

Santa María es una parroquia diversa que atiende a una comunidad principalmente conformada por inmigrantes. Las misas son celebradas tanto en inglés como en español, y el calendario de la parroquia está repleto de eventos culturales que muestran la diversidad de su congregación.

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University of Washington

In the fall of 1968, a group of 35 students of Mexican descent from the Yakima Valley enrolled at the University of Washington. At that time, the UW campus was less than diverse. The Chicano “Students of ‘68” were the sons and daughters of rural farming towns, the first wave of young Latino students who transitioned from farmworker backgrounds to professional careers in engineering, law, medicine, government, education, and more.

En el otoño de 1968, un grupo de 35 estudiantes de raíces mexicanas llegaron del valle de Yakima para ingresar a la Universidad de Washington. En esa época, el campus de la UW era muy poco diverso. Los Chicanos “Estudiantes del ’68” eran hijos e hijas de poblados campesinos rurales, la primer oleada de jóvenes estudiantes latinos que hacían la transición del trabajo de campo a carreras profesionales en ingeniería, leyes, medicina, politica publica, educacion y más.

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White Center neighborhood/Vecindario de White Center

This unincorporated King County neighborhood on the south edge of West Seattle, is a multicultural hub that tells the story of immigrants and refugees who joined local blue-collar workers in the search for affordable housing and a place to call home.

Este vecindario no incorporado del King County en el extremo sur de West Seattle, es un centro multicultural que narra la historia de inmigrantes y refugiados que se unieron a obreros locales en la búsqueda de vivienda asequible y un lugar al cual llamar hogar.

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Pasteleria y Panaderia La ideal

Pasteleria y Panaderia La Ideal is a small bakery shop in the South Park neighborhood where traditional Mexican baked goods, including flan and sweet breads (pan dulce), are made fresh daily. Seattleites in the know pop in to be transported to Mexico by the sweet smell of bread.

La Ideal es una pequeña panadería en el vecindario de South Park donde pan tradicional mexicano se elabora a diario, incluyendo flan y pan dulce fresco. La gente de Seattle viene para ser transportada a México por el dulce aroma del pan.

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Jalisco Restaurant/Restaurante Jalisco

Established in 1992, Jalisco is one of the oldest Mexican restaurants in Seattle. Recognized all over town, Jalisco is owned and operated by a friendly family who treat patrons as if they were sitting for lunch at their home table.

Establecido en 1992, Jalisco es uno de los restaurantes mexicanos actuales con más tiempo en Seattle. Reconocido por doquier, Jalisco pertenece y es operado por una amable familia mexicana que trata a sus comensales como si te sentaras a comer en la mesa de su casa.

Visit Jalisco Restaurant/Restaurante Jalisco

Nuevo Amanecer Pupuseria

This site in its various incarnations has been a Latino restaurant for decades. Now home to the Nuevo Amanecer Pupuseria restaurant, it used to be until recently the Mexican restaurant Juan Colorado, and before that the well-known “Sabor a Mi” restaurant.

Este sitio en sus variadas encarnaciones lleva siendo un restaurante latino por décadas. Albergando ahora a la Pupuseria Nuevo Amanecer, era hasta hace muy poco el restaurante mexicano Juan Colorado, y antes de eso el reconocido restaurante Sabor a mi.

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La Canasta Food Mart

This modest one story building houses a bright and colorful restaurant and grocery store filled with goods from Latino countries. Meals prepared on-site are available to take home, and a friendly staff greets you as you make your way through the aisles filled with products that remind Latinos of home.

Este modesto edificio de una sola planta alberga un brillante  y colorido restaurante y mercado de alimentos llenos de productos de proveniencia latina. Comidas preparadas en el lugar están disponibles para llevar, y un personal amigable le saluda mientras recorre los pasillos repletos de productos que recuerdan a los latinos de su hogar.

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Kane Hall

Kane Hall at the University of Washington is now home to a historic mural by renowned artist Pablo O’Higgins. Painted in 1945 for a local maritime labor union, the mural originally adorned their labor hall until the building was scheduled for demolition in ca. 1959. It was donated to the UW but not displayed and restored until the mid-1970s. It has hung in Kane Hall since 1977.

Kane Hall en la Universidad de Washington es ahora la casa de un histórico mural por el renombrado artista Pablo O’Higgins. Pintado en 1945 para una unión local de trabajadores marítimos, el mural adornaba originalmente su salon de eventos hasta que el edificio fue programado para ser demolido hacia el año de 1959. Fue donado a la UW pero no fue instalado ni restaurado hasta la mitad de los años setentas. Ha estado en exhibición en Kane Hall desde 1977.

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