Seattle's Northwest African American Museum opens to acclaim

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"This first leg has gone on for almost 30 years," said Carver Gayton, director of the museum. "We will not end our journey until we can ensure we have an African American museum at this site in perpetuity."

It was a star-studded event, featuring Mayor Greg Nickels, King County Executive Ron Sims, Gov. Christine Gregoire, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. They were the first to tour the museum when the doors opened.

Nickels said it was 150 years ago that Manuel Lopes became the first African American to set foot in Seattle and opened a barber shop and a restaurant. He said George Williams became the first African-American city employee, driving a horse-drawn streetcar.

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