Honoring the life of Edwin Pratt
To honor the life and work of Edwin T. Pratt, a civil rights leader in the Puget Sound region, Shoreline Mayor Will Hall proclaimed December 6, 2018, Edwin T. Pratt Day on behalf of the community. Accepting the proclamation was Sarah Haycox, a Meridian Park Elementary student who began the community petition and campaign to name the Shoreline School District’s new early learning center after Pratt. As we reflect on all of the contributions made to our country by African-Americans during this Black History Month, it is important for us to reflect upon the life of Edwin T. Pratt.
As a founding member of the Central Area Civil Rights Committee and Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League, Pratt dedicated his life and career to promoting racial equality and social justice. He led civil rights campaigns against housing discrimination, school segregation, employment bias, and police brutality in Seattle and the region.
Pratt moved his family to a nearly all-white Shoreline in 1959 to highlight and bring attention to residential segregation. Housing covenants and redlining prevented the sale of homes to African-Americans and other minorities. Redlining was the practice of denying financial services, such as loans and insurance, to minorities seeking to purchase homes in many Seattle-area neighborhoods.
Pratt was assassinated in front of his Shoreline home on January 26, 1969 at the age of 38. He was survived by his wife Bettye and two young children, William and Miriam. His murder remains unsolved.
We must honor Pratt’s legacy by continuing to take a stand against racism and fight for civil rights and social justice in our community. We can never become complacent and forget the sacrifices made by others to make Shoreline and the region a more inclusive and welcoming community.