‘Atomic Frontier’ Exhibit at NW African American Museum Offers Insight

Photography exhibit chronicles the lives of black workers who helped build atomic bombs

By Jennifer Meyers

1115essentialsnwafricanamericanmuseum_0

October 30, 2015

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Seattle Magazine.

In 1943, humble farmers were forced to evacuate their homes in eastern Washington’s Hanford–Pasco–White Bluffs region to make way for a secret military project base that would later bring devastation to Japan during World War II. Roughly 40,000 workers were recruited by the DuPont Corporation and traveled miles to participate in the Manhattan Project—of those, 6,000 were African American.

Photography exhibition The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford at the Northwest African American Museum chronicles the lives of black workers who participated unknowingly in the extraction of plutonium to build atomic bombs during World War II. While they were constructing “Fat Man”—the second atomic bomb, which was dropped on Nagasaki—the workers faced other challenges, such as racial segregation in housing, mess halls, social events and certain neighborhoods.

Workers were also exposed to radiation, but the importance of maintaining secrecy for the project overruled controlling the health risks—the military worried such measures would blow its cover. In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the U.S. bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, The Atomic Frontier…offers insight into the lives of these workers through powerful imagery collected from the United States War Department. 10/31–3/6/2016. 11 a.m.–5 p.m. $7 adults, $5 students and seniors, free to children younger than 5.

Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S Massachusetts St.; 206.518.6000; naamnw.org 

 

Taylor Swift/YouTube

New auditorium, better BMX track and a greener Seattle

Casket Case Bellevue company’s product featured in Taylor Swift video Social media absolutely lost it after a casket manufactured by Bellevue-based Titan Casket was featured in American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s recent “Anti-Hero” music video. Tweets and Instagram posts from Swift’s fans about the casket have generated tens of thousands of likes and retweets, resulting in…

Act Theater: History of Theatre group shot-cropped

Seattle Celebrates Black History Month

A guide to events happening throughout the city in February

From the Northwest African American Museum to the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle residents have an abundance of opportunities to celebrate the achievements of African Americans in February during Black History Month. The annual celebration began in the United States in 1976. Countries around the world also celebrate the month. Here’s a guide to events…

Photography by Tyree Harris

Book Excerpt: Marmots May Be Running Out of Time

New book explores endangered species in Pacific Northwest

In her debut as a book author, Josephine Woolington turns back the clock to examine events that have shaped Pacific Northwest wildlife in an effort to provide a deeper sense of place for those who call this unique and beautiful region home. Where We Call Home: Lands, Seas, and Skies of the Pacific Northwest sheds…

Illustration by Arthur Mount

Seattle Artifacts: The Mystery of Chief Seattle’s Death Mask

Is it real? Where did it come from?

In different parts of the world, and throughout the course of history, death has been memorialized in a variety of different ways. One of the more intriguing was death masks. Typically, a wax or plaster cast was made of a deceased person’s face, which then served as a model for sculptors when creating statues and busts.  …

Photography by Sage Chen

The Art of Weathering Winter: Foraging, Bathing, and Gold Dust

Two Seattle Chefs on the Soothing Hobbies that Get Them through the Winter

Though I’ve lived in Seattle nearly my entire life, the early winter sunsets, which fall like a set of blackout curtains over the world, never fail to feel like a curse. This year, though, I wanted to challenge myself to find a better way to get through it. Could it be an opportunity to surrender…

DSC_5132 copy 2 hero-min

Hip-Hop Healing in Seattle

Rapper Carter Costello’s house is more than just a venue for artists

The last time I was at Seattle rapper Carter Costello’s house was under the cloak of night. I had been invited to an art and music show — featuring Seattle photographer and artist Baby Claypool, a duo of fire dancers, rapper Nobi and Costello — by local photographer James Gerde. Once I set foot on…