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Central District’s Soul Pole celebrates 50th anniversary

It’s still standing tall and proud.

The Soul Pole in Seattle stands to the left of the Douglass-Truth Seattle Public Library branch's tan brick building.

The Soul Pole underwent a year-long restoration process and was returned to the Douglass-Truth campus in 2022.

Photo via Seattle Public Library

Happy birthday to a truly towering Seattle icon. The Soul Pole at the Seattle Public Library’s Douglass-Truth Branch turns 50 years old this week — looking spry after extensive restoration work finished in 2022.

Standing 21-ft tall, the artwork was carved from a telephone pole in the 60s by six members of the Rotary Boys Club to represent 400 years of African American history. It was then gifted to the Central District library and installed in April of 1973.

There will be a celebration on Saturday, April 29, 1-2:30 p.m., at Douglass-Truth to celebrate the sculpture’s anniversary. Speakers include:

  • Tom Fay: Seattle Public Library’s Chief Librarian
  • Elijah Mu’ied: poet and performance artist who led the Soul Pole project as art director
  • Taylor Brooks: the African American Collection librarian at the Douglass-Truth Branch

The community is invited to share their own memories at Saturday’s event — refreshments to follow.