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Edwin Pratt Mural Unveiling

On January 30, 2023, Seattle artist Al Doggett came to the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center to place his name placard next to his inspiring mural of the slain civil right activist for whom the preschool is named. Doggett was joined in the visit by Larry Gossett, former King County councilmember and activist for racial justice, and Esther Ervin, a contemporary visual artist and jewelry maker who is active in the local arts community.

The mural of Edwin Pratt is displayed prominently in the lobby of the early learning center, carrying forward the legacy of the slain activist's civil rights campaigns against housing discriminations, school segregation, and employment bias.

School District Superintendent Dr. Susana Reyes and School Board President Dr. Sarah Cohen were in attendance to meet the honored guests and hear more about their work. 


About the naming of the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center:


At their May 21, 2018 meeting, the school board voted unanimously in favor of naming the new facility the Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center in honor of the local civil rights leader.

The board’s decision follows a three-month-long process and recommendations from the district’s School Naming Committee, which was comprised of parents, staff, students, and community members from across the district. 

As a founding member of the Central Area Civil Rights Committee and Executive Director of the Seattle Urban League, Pratt dedicated his life and career to promoting racial equality and social justice. He led civil rights campaigns against housing discrimination, school segregation, and employment bias.

Pratt moved his family to a nearly all-white Shoreline in 1959 to highlight and bring attention to residential segregation that was present through housing covenants that would not allow the sale of homes to African-Americans and through redlining. Redlining was the practice of denying financial services, such as loans and insurance, to minorities seeking to purchase homes in many Seattle-area neighborhoods. 

Pratt was assassinated in front of his home on January 26, 1969, at the age of 38. He was survived by his wife Bettye and two young children, William and Miriam. 

The nomination to have the new Early Learning Center named after Pratt followed a yearlong campaign by Meridian Park student Sarah H. to name a new facility after the civil rights leader. Sarah organized informational booths at local events, gathered signatures of support and spoke in favor of naming a building after Pratt at numerous school board meetings.

“We are proud to honor and recognize Edwin Pratt for his life of service and commitment to the values of equality and justice that our schools and community work hard to promote,” said then-School Board President David Wilson. “The commitment to those same ideals was also reflected in Sarah’s work to educate our community about the life and contributions of Mr. Pratt. It was very inspiring to see one of our students lead that charge.”

The Edwin Pratt Early Learning Center opened January 2019 as home to the district’s tuition preschool, Head Start, and special education preschool programs.


About the artist:

Al Doggett was born in Brooklyn, New York, where his interest in art began in childhood with encouragement from his mother. He was inspired by the art he saw in books and magazines. Being chosen as class artist in grade school was the first step leading to his career as a professional artist. 

After attending community art classes, in his pre-teens, he knew he wanted to continue developing his artistic skills. So, he successfully applied for the High School of Art and Design. After graduation he enrolled in advanced studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, majoring in illustration and graphic design.

This focused education enabled him to establish a successful career as a commercial artist. In addition, he balanced his interests by creating paintings for exhibition in local art shows. 

To further develop his understanding of drawing and painting techniques, he enrolled at the Art Students League of New York, where he sought a more academic approach to figurative drawing, painting and composition. 

After completing his program at the Art Students League, he was drawn back to the Pacific Northwest, where he had visited relatives a few years earlier and been inspired by the scenic beauty and open spaces. So, he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he opened Al Doggett Studio, providing artistic services to the commercial art community.

Meanwhile, some of his time was devoted to creating fine art for exhibition throughout the Northwest. Thus, Al gained a reputation as an artist and received numerous awards and citations.

His other artistic pursuits include commissioned work, portraits, and outdoor public art.


To learn more about the artist Al Doggett, who created the preschool's mural, please visit his website: