African Americans in the Washington State Legislature

The following individuals identified themselves as Black and/or African American and were elected to serve in the Washington State Legislature.  The Washington State Library appreciates factual corrections and updates to this list.  Please contact Ask a Librarian with revised information.

Name: William Owen Bush (1832-1907)
Party: Republican
District: Thurston County (at large)
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1st Legislature 1889
Occupation: Farmer
Notable Legislation: House Bill 90 to establish a college for the study of the science of agriculture, which eventually became Washington State University.
Biography: Black Past  Obituary: Find a Grave

 

Name: John H. Ryan (1865-1943)
Party: Farm Labor; Republican; Democrat
District: 28 Pierce County; 38 Pierce County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1921 -1925 as Farm Labor Party, 1931-3 as Republican House of Representatives for District 38 ; 1933-37 Senate for District 28 as a Democrat; 1941-43 House of Representatives as a Democrat
Occupation: Journalist 
Notable Legislation: Successfully argued against an anti-interracial marriage bill in 1921
Biography: Black Past | Historylink

Photo of Charles Stokes courtesy of the Washington State Archives


Name: Charles M. Stokes (1903-1996)
Party: Republican
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1951-1955; 1957-9
Occupation: Attorney
Notable Legislation: Co-sponsor of the Civil Rights Ominbus Bill of 1957
Biography: Black Past | Historylink

 


Name: Samuel (Sam) J. Smith (1922-1995) 
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1959-1969
Occupation: Boeing Aircraft employee
Notable Legislation: Open Housing Law in 1967
Biography: Black Past | Oral History | HistoryMakers

 

Name: George Fleming (1937 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1969-71 House of Representatives; 1971-1991 Senate
Occupation: Athlete/Economic Development Manager for Pacific Northwest Bell-USWest
Notable Legislation: Advocated for a statewide Martin Luther King holiday
Biography: Black Past | A Personal Look at Senator George Fleming (YouTube)

 

 


Name: Peggy Joan Maxie (1936 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1971-1983
Occupation: Social Worker
Notable Legislation: Prime Sponsor of the Landlord-Tenant Act of Washington
Biography: Black Past | Historylink 
 


Name: Michael K. Ross (1941-2007)
Party: Republican
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1971-1973
Occupation: Contractor
Notable Legislation: Introduced a bill to legalize marijuana
Biography: Black Past | Historylink  Obituary: Legacy.com

 

Photo of Bill Smitherman courtesy of the Washington State Archives


Name: Bill Smitherman (1943 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 26 Pierce and Kitsap Counties
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1983-86 House of Representatives; 1986-1991 Senate
Occupation: Management - Planning Consultant
Notable Legislation: Creation of UW Tacoma in 1990
Biography: Black Past
 

Photo of Jesse Wineberry courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: Jesse Wineberry
Party: Democrat
District: 37 and 43 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1985-1993 for District 43; 1993-1995 for District 37
Occupation: Not Listed
Notable Legislation: HB 2319 Programs to Reduce Youth Violence in 1994
Biography: Black Past

 

Photo of Dawn Mason courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: Dawn Mason (1945 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1995-1999
Occupation: Management Systems Analyst for Seattle Water
Notable Legislation: Successfully argued against an anti-affirmative action bill (HB 1999) in 1995
Biography: Black Past

 

Photo of John Lovick courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: John Lovick (1951 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 44 Snohomish County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 1999-2007
Occupation: Law Enforcement
Notable Legislation: Sponsor of 2002 bill making not wearing a seat belt a primary offense
Biography: Black Past | Snohomish County Sheriff's Office

 

Photo of Rosa Franklin courtesy of the Washington State ArchivesName: Rosa Franklin (1927 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 29 Pierce County
Branch: House of Representatives; Senate
Years Served: 1991-1993 House of Representatives; 1993-2011 Senate
Occupation: Nursing
Notable Legislation: Sponsor for the Washington Housing Policy Act of 1993
Biography: Black Past | Washington Women's History Consortium | HistoryMakers

 


Name: Eric Pettigrew (1960 - )
Party: Democrat
District: 37 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2003-current
Occupation: Director of Urban Development
Notable Legislation: Statewide Recognition of Juneteenth
Biography: Black Past | Legislature Website

 

Name: Roger Freeman
Party: Democrat
District: 30 King County
Branch: House of Representatives
Years Served: 2013 - current
Occupation: Attorney
Legislative Interests: Education and Social Services
Biography: Legislature Website