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Using Afrofuturism principles to keep, grow Black culture in Seattle's Central District

Schemata Workshop
A conceptual design for Acer House, which is planned for 23rd Avenue and East Cherry Street, in Seattle's Central District.

Seattle’s Central District once was a Black neighborhood.

New arrivals and rising property values have pushed African Americans out, but many who have stayed hope to preserve and grow the Black culture that remains.


A new development at 23rd Avenue and East Cherry Street is one such effort. Like a lot of Seattle’s new construction, there’s retail space on the first floor, residential upstairs. The backers of Acer House say they’re trying to build Seattle’s first anti-racist development, open to everyone as it embraces the idea of a robust African American future.

Architect Donald King spoke with KNKX All Things Considered host Ed Ronco at the empty lot where the development will go. He explained his Afrofuturist vision and how it applies to keeping his neighborhood, the Central District, a welcoming place for everyone.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.