PASCO, Wash. — “At that time, if you were black, you lived on the east side – you didn’t live in Kennewick, you didn’t live in Richland,” Vanis Daniels, of Pasco said.
As Daniels stood outside the Morning Star Baptist Church in Pasco, he can still recall where family, friends and past reverends lived during the mid-20th century.
“They were like pillars of the community,” Daniels remembered several church leaders as he grew up in East Pasco.
Daniels is the President of the African American Community Cultural and Educational Society. He said it’s important to preserve his culture’s history, even the painful parts.
“We need to try and leave something and teach the younger generation because they are going to be the leaders in the future,” he said.
Recently, Morning Star Baptist Made the Washington Heritage Register. Daniels said church was, and still remains a cornerstone for many African Americans.
“Back in the south, you had church, and church. If you didn’t go to church you didn’t have any place to go. You churched all day long,” Daniels laughed.
While Vanis didn’t attend Morning Star, he said he can still remember the hustle and bustle of families make their way to Sunday service, and the delicious meals that would follow.
Blocks away from Morning Star is Kurtzman Park, which is also now listed on the registry.
“We played baseball all the time, all summer long,” Vanis said.
Daniels said as a kid, he and his friends would go to undeveloped land to play ball.
One day, as they were playing on a field, filled with tumbleweeds, a woman approached them, asking why they weren’t at a park. Vanis said they didn’t have anywhere to go.
The woman, Rebecca Heidlebaugh, tracked down the landowner who ended up being Allan Kurtzman. After some time, he agreed to give six acres of the lot to the City, as long as they would use it to create a park, eventually named Kurtzman park.
Historical records state residents eventually had to take manners into their own hands and develop the park. Vanis said the City laid grass seed and planted trees, but a majority of the work was done by community members.
More from KAPP KVEW:
COPYRIGHT 2022 BY YAKTRINEWS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED.