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More history than meets the eye. (📸: Curtis Cronn)
RIGHT THERE ON RED SQUARE 🗣
Visit the University of Washington and you’ll likely pass through Red Square, a huge open space bordered by two student libraries, a lecture hall, and a school administration building. Most days, it’s dotted with food trucks and student-run clubs. But when local and national issues heat up, Red Square is a hub for student protests.
In honor of May Day, let’s get into the square’s history…
WHAT IT IS: An open plaza in the heart of University of Washington’s campus that’s made almost entirely out of red brick. It was built in 1971 outside Suzzallo Library to replace a field because engineers were afraid that when it rained, water could leak into the school’s brand new garage.
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Its official name is actually the “Suzzallo Quadrangle,” after the Suzzallo Library, which borders the plaza. Before the brick was laid in the ‘70s, the quad was a grassy field and “a common meeting place for student activist groups,” reported The Daily, the UW’s student newspaper. Student Cassandra Amesely, who wrote for the school paper, is credited with giving Red Square its nickname after she created a campaign to rename it as part of a class assignment on propaganda (!), HistoryLink reports. It’s not clear whether its name was meant to allude to Russia’s own Red Square, but it makes us wonder…
KNOWN FOR: Aside from being a gathering space for students, Red Square has long been a home for student activism. In 1970, thousands of students protested against the Vietnam War in the wake of the Kent State University shooting, in which members of the Ohio National Guard troops fatally shot four college students protesting the war. More recently, the plaza made headlines on inauguration night in 2017 after a man protesting right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ campus appearance was shot.
NOT-SO-FUN FACT: The brick-paved plaza is infamous for becoming extremely slippery when it rains or snows. 💦
HOWEVER… The plaza was long-rumored to have been paved with brick to make it easier to hose down student protesters in the 1960s — but that’s not true, The Daily reported. The quad was laid with brick in 1971 per modernist architect and UW grad Paul Hayden Kirk’s designs. He said he designed Red Square to be “open for the people to use and the big groups to get together.”
What are your memories of Red Square? Did they involve any political activism or protests? Share your reflections here.
NOW HERE’S WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR CITY 🎸
Buh-bye cannabis convictions. It’s got to be frustrating to have a conviction on your record for something that ended up getting legalized. And in the case of recreational marijuana — which Washington green lit in 2012 — there’s a racial disparity to think about, too. According to one report, black people were three times more likely than white people to get arrested for having weed, even though both groups used cannabis at the same rate. Now all that could be history. On Friday, our city asked its court to throw out hundreds of marijuana convictions going back 30 years. 👋 (The Stranger)
Rock on. Our Bumbershoot music and arts festival has been taking over Seattle Center every summer since the early 70s. This year’s headliners are up, and if you’re a fan of Fleet Foxes, Lil Wayne, the Chainsmokers, or just damn good music, you’ll want to get online Friday at noon for a first grab at those tickets. (The Stranger)
A tip for Trump. A badass teacher from Spokane is talking to President Trump later this week. Her name is Mandy Manning, she teaches immigrant and refugee kids, and — oh yeah — she’s the 2018 National Teacher of the Year. She’s going to hand-deliver letters she asked her students to write to the president, and she’s planning to punctuate one key thing they say: Use your words kindly. 🙂 (Crosscut)
Hej, Scandinavia! Ballard’s gonna have a big weekend. A brand new 57,000 square foot Nordic Museum is welcoming its first guests there on Saturday — and even ambassadors from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden are lining up to take a tour. The building made an Architectural Digest list of the 15 “most noteworthy” museum openings this year, and the neighbors are stoked. “We see Nordic culture as one tile in a mosaic that makes up the culture of the Northwest,” said Eric Nelson, the museum’s chief exec. (The Seattle Times)
Fight back. The #MeToo movement’s changed how we think about sexual harassment at work. But do you know what you can do about it? This interactive story helps you grasp some core local legal concepts quick. Think you’ve been harassed on the job? You can file a complaint with the Washington Human Rights Commission and get a legal assist from Washington LawHelp. (The Seattle Times)
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HERE'S WHAT'S COMING UP 📅
🍴 Tomorrow! Crowdfound a brand new Seattle market run by low-income immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs at the MarketShare Campaign Launch Party (Pioneer Square)
🐟 May 12: Put the “sea” in Seattle with the whole family at the Harley Marine Seattle Maritime Festival (Lawton Park)
Want to partner on your event with us? Here’s how.
TODAY – MAY DAY
🗣 March for immigrants’ and workers’ rights (Central District)
🎨 Paint some happy little trees for Bob Ross (Capitol Hill)
🎉 Celebrate The South Seattle Emerald’s fourth birthday party (Columbia City)
SATURDAY – CINCO DE MAYO
🎈 Mark Cinco de Mayo with the fam at El Centro de la Raza (Beacon Hill)
🍴 Get your nom on at the Taco Libre Showdown (Fremont)
Going to one of these? Send us a pic or tag #theevergrey. See more upcoming events (and submit your own) on our events page.
SPRING CLEANING? 🛋
Have a good one, all. — The Evergrey