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Black Legislators of Washington State: Firsts & Statistics

Formerly "African Americans in the Washington State Legislature."

Black Legislators of Washington: Firsts and Statistics

First Black Legislators

First Black Man Elected to the House of Representatives: William Owen Bush, served 1889

First Black Woman Appointed to the House of Representatives: Marjorie Pitter King, served 1965

First Black Woman Elected to the House of Representatives: Peggy Joan Maxie, served 1971-1982

First Black Man Elected to the Senate: John H. Ryan, served 1933-1936

First Black Woman Appointed to the Senate: Rosa Franklin, served 1993-2010

First All-Black Legislative Delegation: 37th (Seattle, King County) - 1971: George Fleming (Senate), Michael K. Ross (House), and Peggy Joan Maxie (House)

First Black Man in Legislative Leadership: George Fleming, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman and Secretary, 1973

First Black Woman in Legislative Leadership: Rosa Franklin, Vice President Pro Tempore, Senate, 1995



Black Washingtonians have had continuous representation in the legislature since 1957.

The current legislative session (2022) contains the largest Black delegation in state's history: 10 members. Prior to 1957, the state saw 33 legislative sessions with no Black representation at all. 

The 37th Legislative District (King County) has elected the largest number Black delegates, followed by the 30th (King/Pierce), and 44th (Snohomish). In total, 11 legislative districts have been represented by a Black Washingtonian at some point in the state's history. The 37th and the 44th districts have both elected all Black delegations (2 Representatives, 1 Senator) - the 37th in 1971 and the 44th in 2022.

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