Yup you heard it right! Another Black George Washington!

This George (1817-1905) is the Founder of the city of Centralia, WA. Born to a Black slave and a white woman this George, along with his white foster parents took to the Oregon territory which would later become Washington State after skipping out on an unpaid bond. Once there George staked out a plot. Since Black men couldn’t own property he put it in his foster parents name. When plans were made in 1872 for the Northern Pacific railroad to cross his property George decided to establish his own town on the location.

In 1875 he began selling lots for $5 each to anyone willing to build on them. He donated land for the First Baptist Church, a cemetery and a public square naming his town “Centerville” which later became the city “Centralia” when Centerville was hit by a serious economic depression in 1889-97 he gave away food and clothing, loaned money and created jobs for the townspeople.

George died in 1905 at the age of 88 of injuries suffered in a buggy accident. On the day of his funeral all business was closed, the service was held at the church he founded and he was buried at the cemetery he built.

SOURCE: The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage. By Susan Altman. Check mark books


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