Jerrelene Williamson, founding member and president of Spokane Northwest Black Pioneers for 10 years, will be the recipient of the Spokane Citizen Hall of Fame’s Community Impact Award, which will be presented at the Hall of Fame’s annual breakfast on May 1. Williamson is most known for her work recording and telling the history of African Americans in Spokane.
Williamson became the first African American grocery cashier in Spokane, working for Safeway for 27 years. Her book, African Americans in Spokane, was published by Arcadia Press in 2010. She has been the recipient of many honors including the prestigious Jefferson Award chosen by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for contributions to her community. She had a 10-year ministry singing in nursing homes and was featured in the opening exhibit of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle, talking about her beloved Spokane, the city that has been home to her family since her father was born here in 1899.
“Jerrelene is one of those rare and humble individuals who has quietly gone about doing such great things for the Spokane community. We are honored to recognize her valuable contributions to the city of Spokane, ” said Sarah Bain, director of development for Spokane Public Library Foundation.
“Jerrelene has cultivated and shared an important part of Spokane history for generations. Our community is so grateful for the work she has done in sharing the stories of our African American community,” said Library Executive Director Andrew Chanse.