Dozens Gather to Discuss Racial Discrimination in the Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Dozens Gather to Discuss Racial Discrimination in the Tri-Cities

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RICHLAND, Wash. - As the U.S.  elects its first African American President Barrack Obama, dozens of people of all races gathered in Richland to see how far the Tri-Cities has come in overcoming racial discrimination.

The meeting was held at WSU Tri-Cities by The Center for Columbia River History in Vancouver.

University of Washington History Professor Dr. Quintard Taylor gave a lecture on the history of the black community in Eastern Washington.

Dr. Taylor said the Tri-Cities has seen its share of racial discrimination saying in the early 1940's, Kennewick residents prided themselves on being a black free town.  Blacks living in Pasco were arrested for the color of their skin alone.
Hanford brought in thousands of black workers only to make them live in segregated homes.
One woman who lived through it all says Obama's win is a turning point for the black community.  "Today is a milestone for the black race.  It's the best thing that has ever happened to us in the history of the United States," said Katie Barton.

90-year-old Katie Barton has lived in the Tri-Cities for over 60 years.  She became the first African American to be elected to the Pasco City Counsel back in 1970.