When 10-year-0ld Sarah Haycox of Shoreline, Washington discovered a small plaque honoring a man named Edwin T. Pratt, she was struck by the fact that he had died when he was only 39.
Determined to discover why the plaque had been placed by the side of the path—and why the man it honored had died so young—she took it upon herself to research his life.
When she discovered he was a prominent local civil rights activist, integral in the desegregation efforts of the 1960’s before getting assassinated just nine months after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, she was stunned.
Pratt had been a huge part of the desegregation efforts in Seattle-area schools during his life, and was the director of the Seattle Urban League, which has worked to provide education and housing for the African-American community in Seattle since 1929.
His assassination came in 1969 on his own front porch, not long after he and his family had become the first African-American family to move into Sarah’s neighborhood decades before she was born.
If he had been so important, she felt it was wrong that the only time she’d heard about him was when she stumbled across a tiny memorial to him “outside of a bathroom”. To her, the activist deserved more.
When she learned that an early learning center was being built in town nearby, she had the perfect idea to honor Pratt properly.
Using a petition and canvassing her community, Haycox explained that the city’s new building should be named after one of it’s most under-appreciated activists.
Her efforts garnered positive attention in her school district, where employee Curtis Campbell explained that “brighter futures are ahead of us and it’s because of kids like Sarah.”
One of the school board members motioned to name the new center after Pratt, and the vote was unanimous; for all her hard work, Haycox had managed to cement Pratt’s legacy in a way that hadn’t been achieved in the 50 years prior.