Black History is Washington History, Lecture #3

Black History is Washington History

From Migration to Mark Making: George Bush, Jacob Lawrence, and the impact of Black Pioneers in Washington State
  • Dates:
    Feb 25, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
  • Ages:
    All ages
  • Where:
    Online at
  • Tickets:


  • Accessibility:

    Accessible online

Celebrated artist Jacob Lawrence, one of the first nationally recognized Black artists, taught at University of Washington and lived much of his life in Seattle. His works are held in prestigious museums across the U.S. and internationally. George Bush was the first Black pioneer to settle in what is now Washington, and his migration is the subject of a series of paintings by Lawrence (held in the Washington State Historical Society’s collection).

Tune in for lively conversations about the contributions and experiences of these pioneering individuals with Leslie King-Hammond, a Jacob Lawrence scholar and founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at the Maryland Institute College of Art; Jason Turner, museum educator and tour guide at the Northwest African American Museum; Gwen Whiting, lead exhibitions curator at WSHS; and Beth Turner, author of Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.

Read more about Bush and Lawrence on this page below the instructions.

This program is presented in partnership with the Northwest African American Museum.

How to view this livestreamed program:

Our program is livestreamed on Facebook but you do not need to have a Facebook account, or sign in to Facebook, to see it. The live program is viewable for everyone.

Click the button below to see the program when it begins at 6 PM on Feb. 25, 2020. (Note: At this link, you can also see archived videos from the other public programs we’ve presented during the past year.)

Watch here!

Need more help getting into the online program? Click the button below for step-by-step directions and a downloadable PDF.

Detailed instructions

Note: On March 5, the Seattle Art Museum will open the exhibition “Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.” If you’re in the area, take advantage of this rare opportunity. SAM is the only West Coast museum to host the exhibition.

More on George Bush and Jacob Lawrence…

In 1972, the State of Washington invited artist Jacob Lawrence to create a work of significance about a central figure in Black history in Washington. He chose to paint five panels in gouache on paper representing a historical narrative about emigrant and settler George Bush, a Black pioneer who, in1844, co-founded the first permanent settlement in what is now Tumwater, Washington after migrating from Missouri to escape the racism of the region. The highly regarded five-panel work created by Lawrence is held in the Washington State Historical Society’s collection.

Lawrence was also a member of the Washington State Arts Commission and was one of the first Black visual artists to focus on African American history as the subject matter of his art.

The WSHS collections also hold items from the late 1800s and early1900s that belonged to the Bush family, some of which were brought during the Bush-Simmons Party’s migration, along with photographs and negatives showing Bush family members, as well as letters and documents related to the work of Bush’s son, Owen Bush,  as the state’s first Black legislator towards land ownership for Black settlers.

From Migration to Mark Making will share about the wonderful paintings comprising Lawrence’s work for the State of Washington, the historical objects that help us understand the Bush legacy, and more.

WA Stay Home Society

“Washington Stay Home Society” programs are generously supported by Columbia Bank.

Challenging History: Racism and City Development’s Impact on Washington’s Health Today

This program is supported by KNKX Public Radio.

Black History is Washington History

Image credit: Jacob Lawrence, In the Iowa Territory they rendezvoused with a wagon train headed for the Oregon Trail (detail), 1973, gouache on board. One in a series of five paintings depicting the George Bush party traveling to Oregon. WSHS Catalog ID C1973.27.4.