Black History Month exhibit open in Yakima

Exhibit has been extended through the end of March

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Opportunities Industrialization Center of Washington is celebrating Black History Month with an educational exhibit at a school gym in Yakima.

“What we’re doing is sharing with the community the history of the people in our community, in our nation and in the world,” said Steve Mitchell, CEO of the OIC of  Washington.

From now until the end of March, community members can make an appointment for a 30-minute tour to view hundreds of posters, artifacts and books set up in the Excel High School gym at 1009 N. Ninth Ave.

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“People are left out of history. People are not respected for the things they’ve done because of the color of their skin and that has been part of our nature in our country,” Mitchell said. “You have the opportunity to look at the lives of people who have done things that you know very little about.”

Mitchell said one of those people often overlooked in history is Garrett Augustus Morgan Sr., a former slave who patented a new kind of traffic signal in 1922, after witnessing a serious accident at an intersection.

“He’s touched the lives of just about everybody in the United States who’ve ever ridden in a car…or stopped at a stop light,” Mitchell said. “Very few people know anything about him and yet here’s a person who has given something to all of us that’s a chance to be safe when we’re driving our vehicles.”

Mitchell said his biggest hope is that people will learn things that they didn’t know before and open up their minds and hearts.

“I want people to know the truth and know information that they’ve been deprived of,” Mitchell said. “This is one way to do that.”

The exhibit is open by appointment only for 30 minute tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of March. Appointments can be scheduled online here.