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Seattle Street Named In Honor Of Civil Rights Leader Who Brought Dr. King To Seattle

The Seattle City Council has named a street in the city’s central area in honor of civil rights leader Rev. Samuel McKinney.

The council on Monday unanimously agreed to designate a stretch of 19th Avenue East, between East Union Street and East Madison Street, as Rev. Dr. S. McKinney Avenue.

McKinney, 87, who served as the minister of the Mount Zion Baptist Church from 1958 until his retirement in 1998, was a prominent voice of the city’s black community during the civil rights movement. He also invited his friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to make his only visit to Seattle in 1961.

An original member of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, McKinney helped pass the open housing ordinance, “the first fair housing act in Seattle’s history,” said Catherine Moore, co-chairperson of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, in a statement.

"Rev. McKinney continues to inspire and remind us today of the work that remains to be done for social justice," said council member Tom Rasmussen in a statement.


Hear Rev. McKinney discuss Dr. King’s visit to Seattle:

Editor's Note: The above interview was conducted as part of the University of Washington's Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project.