Director’s Blog: February 2024


February is Black History Month and at Tacoma Public Library we celebrate the history and achievements of Black Americans, especially Black Tacomans. 

Learn about Virginia Taylor and Helen Stafford, two remarkable Black women with lasting legacies of service and leadership in Tacoma, on the Northwest Room's blog:

Virginia Taylor, a Hilltop Icon

Virginia Taylor was a businesswoman, activist, politician, community advocate, social worker, and publisher, just to name a few of her accomplishments and leadership roles while in Tacoma in the 1970s-90s. Her concerns for women’s and civil rights issues prompted her to join such organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Urban League, and United Way. In the 1970s, she cohosted a cable access talk show titled, “A Woman’s Place Is…” which discussed politics, society, and the changing roles of women in America at that time. Read more about Virginia Taylor and her lasting legacy on the Northwest Room's local history blog.

Helen Stafford, Community Leader

Also featured in our Northwest Room's archives is the collection of Helen Stafford, an incredible Black community leader in Tacoma active in the 1920s-60s. 

During her years in Tacoma, Helen Stafford was actively involved in many local civic and cultural organizations. In 1927, she organized the Matron’s Club, a social gathering of young Black married women who were mothers. In the early 1930s, Stafford helped to organize the Tacoma chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and served as its president. She organized the first Pacific Northwest chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, as well as the Tacoma chapter of The Links. She was involved with the Tacoma Urban League and served on the board of the YWCA and the Tacoma Colored Woman’s Club. 

Explore the stories and legacy of Virginia Taylor, Helen Stafford, and more prominent Black leaders and visionaries in our Northwest Room's digital collections and resources. Plus, join us for Black History Month events throughout this month!

Thank you for supporting your library,

Kate Larsen, Director