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Event Details

Thursday, January 21 2021


7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Online event


The Puget Sound region looks much different today than it did when its sole inhabitants and caretakers were Indigenous people. With westward expansion, Seattle transformed into a frontier town, then a port city, and most recently into a tech hub. The land and its people have shifted with each boom and bust cycle, weaving a complex story of identity.

Join KCTS 9’s Knute Berger, Dr. Quintard Taylor (Professor Emeritus of History at UW), Margaret O'Mara (historian and contributing New York Times opinion writer), Warren KingGeorge (historian for the Muckleshoot tribe) and Josephine Ensign (UW Professor of Nursing focused on health policy), as we explore our region’s “roots” and how, like in our forests, the remains of “old growth” often provide the foundation and energy for new life.

We’ll celebrate our greatest feats and biggest losses, and take a hard look at a tragic legacy of exclusion that has scarred us. If we understand our roots better today, perhaps we can do better in the future.

Major corporate support for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., Season Six is provided by Ancestry, Johnson & Johnson and AT&T. Major support is also provided by the Ford Foundation, Candace King Weir, and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

About the speakers:

Knute "Mossback" Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large and host of the Mossback’s Northwest TV series on KCTS 9. He writes about politics and regional heritage. Previously he served as Editor-in-Chief of Seattle Weekly, Editor & Publisher of Eastsideweek, and as Managing Editor of Washington Magazine. He is Editor-at-Large for Seattle Magazine and has written two books, “Pugetopolis” and “Space Needle, Spirit of Seattle.” He is a regular commentator on KUOW-FM and a Rainier Club Fellow.

Dr. Quintard Taylor is a historian, author, and co-founder of He taught at universities in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nigeria over his 47-year career in higher education. Most recently, he was the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle. Taylor is the author of several books including The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights Era, described in 2020 as one of the 10 most influential books published by the University of Washington Press in the past Century. He is also the author of over fifty articles on African American Western History, African American, African, Afro-Brazilian, and comparative ethnic history. Taylor and other volunteers created, an online website resource center for African American history which houses over 6,000 pages of information and features contributions by more than 800 scholars from six continents.

Margaret O'Mara is the Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor of History at the University of Washington and a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. She writes and teaches about the growth of the high-tech economy, the history of U.S. politics, and the connections between the two. Her most recent book is The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (Penguin Press, 2019).

Warren KingGeorge is the oral historian for the Muckleshoot tribe

Josephine Ensign is a professor of nursing and adjunct professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. She teaches public health, health policy, and health humanities. Ensign is the author of Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net and Soul Stories: Voices from the Margins as well as Soul Stories: Voices from the Margins. She was a 2018 U.S.-U.K. Fulbright scholar, based in Edinburgh, for research on the history of English and Scottish Poor Laws. Her book, Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City is forthcoming (2021) from Johns Hopkins University Press.

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