New exhibit showcases Washington’s involvement in one of the most tumultuous years in American history

New exhibit showcases Washington’s involvement in one of the most tumultuous years in American history

OLYMPIA — In 1968, Vietnam, civil rights, women’s liberation, and conservation coalesced — and tragedy often led the 6 o’clock news. It changed American society in ways that still resonate a half-century later.

1968: The Year That Rocked Washington, a new exhibit by Legacy Washington, features profiles, compelling photos, and artifacts that document the activism and aftershocks of a landmark year in world history. A collection of online stories and educational materials supplement the exhibit.

The exhibit will open to the public with a free kickoff event on Thursday, Sept. 13, from 3-5 p.m. in the State Reception Room at the Washington State Capitol in Olympia. Scheduled speakers include Secretary of State Kim Wyman, former three-term Governor Dan Evans, noted author Tom Robbins, and King County Councilmember Larry Gossett.

Some of the notable Washingtonians profiled in the exhibit are:

·         Pat O’Day, the legendary KJR disc jockey, concert promoter, and king of Seattle radio in 1968, who welcomed Jimi Hendrix back home for his first Seattle concert and an appearance at Garfield High School.

·         Polly Dyer, a cheerfully tenacious activist at the vanguard of the modern environmental movement in 1968, which culminated with the creation of the North Cascades National Park, sparing the “American Alps” from mining and clearcutting.

·         Art Fletcher, a civil rights activist from the Tri-Cities who ran for lieutenant governor against long odds and nearly became the state’s first black statewide elected official. As deputy secretary of labor in the Nixon administration, he became “the father of affirmative action” and headed the United Negro College Fund.

·         Ralph Munro, a tireless disability rights activist who went on to become our five-term Secretary of State. Governor Dan Evans, who recruited Munro to coordinate volunteerism statewide, called him “the one who taught me how to care.”

Members of the media are invited to preview the exhibit, located in the lobby of the Secretary of State’s Office, on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from noon to 1 p.m. An RSVP is requested.




Erich R. Ebel, Communications Director