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The Unspoken Truths Museum comes to ARTS at King Street Station

November 16, 2021 – January 15, 2022

This November, ARTS at King Street Station will host 1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation from November 16, 2021, through January 15, 2022. The exhibition features stories and objects from the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths that are new and unfamiliar to many.

The exhibition, created and curated by storyteller Mr. Delbert Richardson, takes viewers on a chronological journey through the beginnings of our origins in Africa, American Chattel Slavery, the Jim Crow Era to modern-day African American originators, inventors, and innovators.

Ceremonial Mask, 20th Century, Wood, Beads, Cowrie shells, courtesy of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths

“As the “story” goes in August of 1619 “20 odd negroes arrived” in the British colony of Virginia (which was not yet America). American Chattel Slavery as an institution, had the primary function of feeding the greed of wealth and capitalism by white men of European decent both in Europe and the Americas. The commodification of human beings primarily from the continent of Africa provided a free labor force for over 400 years. There are many histories that are still debated and told through different lenses, but stories that are centered on the attributes, perseverance, and courage, of a great people are rarely shared.”

Mr. Delbert Richardson

About the Exhibition

The mission of The Unspoken Truths’ 1619: Resistance/Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation is dedicated to the education of children, students, and adults of all ages to tell and share through a non-sanitized version of American History, using authentic artifacts, multi-media presentations, storyboards, and the ancient art of storytelling. This work is centered around an anti-racist curriculum, unbiased histories, and the journey of African people to the Americas and Europe in an effort to recognize and strengthen positive identity development and a positive self-concept and image of African people of the Diaspora. 

The exhibit is organized into four themes: 

Mother Africa, which features some of the great contributions that Africans have made throughout the world. This section connects Africa’s global impact in the areas of its rich traditions, cultures, rituals, and ceremonies.  Equally as important, are the global contributions in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math)  

American Chattel Slavery breaks down the type of slavery where human beings are considered to be property and are bought and sold as such. This section utilizes authentic artifacts, documents, and storyboards, to expose the Impacts on enslaved Africans physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.  

Jim Crow Era is an explanation of the racial caste system geared around white superiority. Jim Crow was the name of the racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second-class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism.  

Still We Rise highlights African American inventors and inventions. A 40-foot display features everyday items that African Americans have invented or improved upon.  

For over 30 years, Richardson has collected and amassed an assortment of artifacts that symbolizes Africans’ contributions to Africa and the Americans. 

About Mr. Delbert Richardson

Mr. Delbert Richardson, the founder of The Unspoken Truths, is a self-taught educator, second-generation storyteller, ethnomuseologist, and community scholar. Born in Detroit, his family of six siblings moved to the Seattle area in the mid-1960s. He attended Coleman Elementary, Washington Middle School, Franklin High School, and graduated from Antioch, Seattle with a B.A. in Liberal Arts: Global Social Justice.    

Mr. Delbert Richardson is a husband and father of four amazing children. Richardson has won numerous awards including:    

  • 2013 National Campus Compact Newman Fellows Award  
  • 2017 National Education Assoc. (NEA) Human and Civil Rights Award  
  • 2019 Seattle Mayor Arts Award  
  • 2019 Seattle Crosscut Courage in Culture Award  
  • 2020 Assoc. of King County Org. (AKCHO) Heritage Education Award  
  • 2020-2021 National Maquis Who’s Who Award
  • 2021 Governor’s Arts & Heritage Awards (GAHA) 
  • 2021 MOHAI’s Educator of the Year 

ARTS at King Street Station will have two additional installations on view in the gallery space: Diversity by Design by AIA Seattle’s Diversity Roundtable and Home of Good: A Black Seattle Storyquilt by Storme Webber

Ethiopian Coptic Bible, 19th Century, Cowskin and wood, Ethiopia, courtesy of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths

Exhibition Exploration for Educators with Delbert Richardson (December 11, 2021)

The Creative Advantage invites educators to this special exhibition exploration session to tour the exhibit and think critically together about ways to share this exhibit and its themes with students.

December 11, 2021
11am  – 1pm
ARTS at King Street Station

ARTS at King Street Station is free and open Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. In accordance with King County’s vaccination verification guidance, people ages 12 and older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result to enter. Masks are required, regardless of vaccination status. 

The Unspoken Truths: 1619 – Resilience/Remembrance/Liberation is organized and presented by the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and is curated by Ricky Reyes in partnership with the ARTS at King Street Station Advisors. Support for the installation is provided by Benjamin Gale-Schreck and Blake Haygood.