Spokane’s First Black Elected Official Inducted Into Spokane Citizen Hall Of Fame
On the morning of April 2, 2015, The Spokane NAACP received a Key to the City and the Spokane Citizen Hall of Fame award on behalf of the legacy and achievements of Daniel K. Oliver, Spokane’s first Black elected official.
Some accounts list Jim Chase, elected in 1975, as Spokane’s first black member of the city council. This assertion was challenged by a 1979 history of the Black presence in Spokane, funded by the Spokane NAACP, and by a 1989 book by Joseph Franklin. Both inquiries came to the conclusion that one of Spokane’s early pioneers, Daniel K. Oliver, was among the first Black residents and was in fact the city’s first black councilman in 1896-97. He was listed as a mulatto on the 1880 Census, taken about two years after he arrived in Spokane Falls. In accordance with the institutionalized “one drop rule,” anyone who has African ancestry born in America is deemed African American.
We thank the Spokane Citizen Hall of Fame for honoring Daniel K. Oliver’s legacy and are proud to accept the Hall of Fame award and Key to the City on his behalf.