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A Black family couldn't bury their young son where they wished because of racism. 60 years later, does an apology help?

By David Gutman, The Seattle Times on

Published in Parenting News

SEATTLE — Six decades after the state of Washington compounded her family's tragedy with insult and indignity, Bernice Price can only shake her head and sigh.

"Oh Lord," Price, 90, says. "It's been a long time."

She gestures toward the alley behind the Seattle home she's lived in for the better part of a century.

"Something happened during that time," she says. "It's gone."

Sixty years ago, the Washington state Supreme Court ruled that a Seattle cemetery's insistence on segregation outweighed Price and her husband's right to bury their young son there. Last month, the Washington state Supreme Court admitted it was wrong.

Among Price's family, which fought racist Seattle institutions in both this and another long-gone court case, there is no consensus on what last month's reversal really means.


For a country in the midst of an unprecedented racial reckoning, the Prices' story highlights questions that have reverberated around Seattle, around Washington and around the nation throughout this tumultuous season.

How do you reckon with racism that runs as deep as the country's founding? How do you make amends?

What good is an apology that comes 60 years late?



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