7554 BROOKLYN AVENUE NE
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98115-4302
Phone: (206) 524-8642
April 15, 1998
Mr. Paul Dunn, Chair
Pike Place Market Historical Commission
700 Third Avenue, 4th Floor
Dear Mr. Dunn,
I have become aware of the proposed mural project by local artist, Aki Sogabe, designed to celebrate the contribution of King County Japanese American tarmers to the history of the Pike Place Market. I am writing to express full support toward installation of the panels at the Market, and hope they will be installed in a prominent place for all visitors to enjoy and reflect on.
The fulcrum of the 100 year history of the Japanese in the Pacific Northwest is the black period of incarceration during World War II, on which so much emphasis has been placed in recent years. Here, however, is an opportunity for the Market and Seattle to celebrate the accomplishments of prewar, Nikkei truck farmers who, despite long-term discrimination against them, contributed greatly to Seattle's dinner tables. Until the War they occupied the majority of stalls at the Market and were a presence in grocery stores throughout most neighborhoods in the city. Japanese farmers in King County possessed special skills in soil preparation, crop and seed selection, planting, and cultivation, enabling them to produce bumper crops of high quality, on tiny plots of land that state alien land laws would not permit them to own.
I hope you will give strong consideration to placing the proposed murals on the ceiling beam behind the Pike Street entrance to the Market. The Market neighborhood is a highly diverse ethnic and cultural community that is worthy of such recognition.
Louls Fiset Author of Imprisoned Apart: The World War II Correspondence of an Issei Couple. (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997)