When researching the history of King County, it gave our staff the shivers. The historical documents reveal a beautiful tribute to a beautiful man.
The 1986 motion to rename King County after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reads:
INTRODUCED BY: RON SIMS, BRUCE LAING
PROPOSED NO.: 86-66 MOTION NO. 6461
A MOTION setting forth the historical basis for “renaming” King County after the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., instead of William Rufus DeVane King for whom King County is currently named.
WHEREAS, the County of King in the State of Washington was named after William Rufus Devane King by the Oregon Territorial legislature in 1852, and
WHEREAS, William Rufus DeVane King was a slaveowner and a “gentle slave monger” according to John Quincy Adams, and
WHEREAS, the citizens of King County believe that the ownership of another human being is an injustice against humanity, and
WHEREAS, William Rufus DeVane King earned income and maintained his lifestyle by oppressing and exploiting other human beings, and
WHEREAS, the citizens of King County cherish and uphold the constitutional tenant of the “unmitigated pursuit” of life, liberty, and happiness for which many citizens of this county have given their lives as a supreme sacrifice to defend these foundations of freedom, and
WHEREAS, the citizens of King County through their various faiths uphold the principle that all mankind was created equal, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that liberty, justice and freedom were the “inalienable rights” of all men, women and children, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a spiritual man who believed all people were created equal in the sight of God, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed in the dignity and self-worth of every individual, and subsequently, gave his life defending his beliefs, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a recipient of the Nobel Prize became a national hero whose birthday has been declared a national holiday by his nation’s government to be a day of peace, love and understanding, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through his persistent and unfailing efforts prompted passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both of which have benefited all citizens of this nation, and
WHEREAS, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired people and nations world-wide to strive in a non-violent manner for the human rights, civil liberties, and economic guarantees rightfully due people of all races;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT MOVED by the Council of King County: The King County Council, hereby, sets forth the historical basis for the “renaming” of King County in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a man whose contributions are well-documented and celebrated by millions throughout this nation and the world, and embody the attributes for which the citizens of King County can be proud, and claim as their own.
BE IT FURTHER MOVED,
King County shall be named after the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
PASSED this 24th day of February, 1986.
KING COUNTY COUNCIL KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON (signed by) Audrey Gruger Chair ATTEST: (signed by) Dorothy M. Owens Clerk of the Council
A bronze memorial plaque commemorating the name change was placed on the first floor elevator lobby of the King County Courthouse at 3rd Avenue and James Street in Seattle. (end)