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Change was in the air. Everywhere. From Saigon to Seattle, Paris to Pasco, Memphis and Mexico City. On college campuses, the campaign trail and evergreen peaks, Washingtonians were spurred to action.


It was the year when Vietnam, civil rights, women’s liberation, and conservation coalesced—the year when tragedy led the 6 o’clock news with numbing regularity. 1968 changed us in ways still rippling through our society a half-century later.


In 1968: The Year That Rocked Washington features a collection of online stories and an exhibit set to open at the Washington State Capitol in the fall of 2018. With profiles, compelling photos, and artifacts, Legacy Washington documents the activism and aftershocks of a landmark year in world history. Native American fishing rights, feminism and equal access for people with disabilities were all advanced by activist Washingtonians.

Here are a few of the people you’ll meet:


Polly Dyer, a cheerfully tenacious activist, was at the vanguard of the modern environmental movement in 1968, culminating in the creation of the North Cascades National Park, which spared 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 young 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.”


Larry Gossett, now a King County Councilman, was a founder of the Black Student Union at the University of Washington. He led sit-ins and other protests that demanded more minority admissions and the creation of a Black Studies curriculum.

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

Help support the 1968 project

Legacy Washington exhibits offer visitors a unique and interactive opportunity to learn about our state’s history and the people who made it remarkable. The State Capitol and the Office of Secretary of State welcome more than 40,000 people annually. Visitors include student groups from across the state. Many are enrolled in social studies and state history classes.

This collaborative program enjoys a strong partnership with multiple school districts as well as the Karshner Museum. Exhibits are on display for one year in the Capitol Building before traveling to the Karshner Museum, schools, and other venues around the state.

Legacy Washington is currently seeking sponsors for the 1968 project for the printing of the exhibit, materials, and K-12 curriculum that will accompany the exhibit. All Legacy Washington projects are made possible with private funds raised by the Washington State Heritage Center Trust, a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Sponsors receive special recognition on all printed materials, social media, the Secretary of State website, and are invited to attend the opening ceremony, programs and events throughout the year as either guest speakers or discussion group participants. Sponsor logos will be displayed on all electronic marketing and printed material as well as on the web. Additionally, sponsors will be invited to a special reception with Secretary Wyman and exhibit staff after the opening.

Help us share these fascinating stories and consider sponsoring 1968. Contact Laura Mott, Director of Development, at (360) 902-4171.