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News Release

News Release

RELEASE DATE: January 18, 2013

Contact: Suzanne Carlson-Prandini
Bellingham Public Library
(360) 778-7236


This February during African American History month learn about a man who may have been one of the only documented slaves in Washington State. Storyteller Eva Abram will present "Slavery in the Northwest: The Charles Mitchell Story" at noon on Tuesday, February 12 in the Bellingham Public Library Lecture Room. Abram is a member of the 2012-14 Humanities Washington Speaker's Bureau.

Charles Mitchell was born a slave and was brought to Washington Territory in 1853. A tempest was building and citizens all over the state had opinions about a possible Civil War, influencing their opinions about Mitchell’s status as a slave. In this climate, Mitchell made a break for freedom – and his actions nearly started a war between the U.S. and Canada. Through his story, we will examine how ideologies move geographically. The migration to Washington attracted Americans with different socioeconomic experiences from both Northern and Southern states. Did moving to Washington affect peoples’ opinions on slavery?

"Eva opens a window onto a unique perspective of Washington State history through the Charles Mitchell story," says library staff member Suzanne Carlson-Prandini. "Our state's history impacts our current cultural identity."

This presentation, which is free and open to the public, is made possible with the support of the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library and a grant from Humanities Washington. Humanities Washington sparks conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across our state. For more about Humanities Washington, visit For more information about this presentation, contact the Bellingham Public Library at 360-778-7323.


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