Kerouac, of course, was a friend of Robert Lax, the subject of my book Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax. You’ll find a post here about a letter from him to Lax in which he laid out his thoughts about Christianity and Buddhism.
There are many pages about Kerouac and his friendship with Lax in Pure Act.
There’s a new post up on my WritingtheNorthwest.com site. It looks at the history and vitality of Black newspapers in the Northwest and includes links to the actual pages of some of the oldest ones.
Although there were few African Americans in Seattle in the 1890s, that decade produced 7 new Black newspapers, and while there were almost no African Americans in Portland in 1896, an enterprising young man named Adolphus D. Griffin started a weekly called The New Age for the Black community there that year.
In doing research for a new project, I came across this quote from Bertha K. Landes, who was elected mayor of Seattle in 1926, becoming the first female mayor of any major American city:
“I threaten to shoot on sight, without benefit of clergy, anyone calling me the mayoress instead of the mayor. Joking aside, I am fighting for a principle in taking that stand. Let women who go into politics be the real thing or nothing! Let us, while never forgetting our womanhood, drop all emphasis on sex and put it on being public servants.”
Although Landes cleaned up the city and had the support of important elements such as the Seattle Times, she was defeated in her reelection bid. The man who beat her, a political neophyte named Frank E. Edwards, did all he could to make the election about whether the city wanted to be led by a woman or a man. Sadly, his cynical approach worked, even among women.
I’m happy to say Seattle has a strong female mayor again (the first since Bertha)–and I hope that after November, we’ll have many more female public servants across this country. God knows we’ve had enough men who don’t know the meaning of “public” or “servant.”
Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax has been named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Biography/Memoir. You’ll find a full list of finalists and information about the awards ceremony here.
If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in attending, the awards ceremony will take place 7-9 p.m. in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch (1000 Fourth Avenue).
The ceremony is free and parking is $7 in the library garage.