What should every Seattleite know? Help us make a top ten list

What every American needs to know

The prison industrial complex, javascript, neurodiversity and Tupac. Those are just a few things that a group of Seattleites think every American should know.

On Wednesday night, dozens of people gathered at the Central Library to share their responses to this question: What do you think Americans should know to be civically and culturally literate?

A bit of context: In the 1980s a professor published “Cultural Literacy,” a book that included 5,000 facts and cultural references that he said every American should know. There’s value in this common knowledge, says Eric Liu, founder of the Seattle-based Citizen University. But Eric had an idea: Why not crowdsource a list that reflects a more diverse and inclusive America?

So he helped launch the “What Every American Should Know” project page, where you can submit your top ten and see a ranking of all the submissions.

The top five right now?

  1. U.S. Constitution
  2. Declaration of Independence
  3. US Civil War
  4. Slavery
  5. Martin Luther King Jr.

These lists are fascinating to read. (Here are a few from last night’s speakers). But the discussions they generate are even more valuable. “We should use these lists as an object of community convening, as an object of conversation,” Eric said.

We’re big fans of conversation and all things Seattle. So here’s what we want to know from you:

What do you think every Seattleite should know given this moment we’re at in our city’s history?

Send an email to [email protected] and let us know! We’ll read through all your responses and compile a top ten list to share back with you.