Black pioneer families shouldn’t be forgottten

I am a Black woman who grew up in Walla Walla and would like to send a dispatch to my hometown to ask its people: How are we remembering the Black history of our Valley?

Recently, I wrote an article on Medium about a Black pioneering family in Walla Walla called the Bogles. They were business owners, members of the community.

Richard Bogle was an immigrant from Jamaica who came to the Valley, co-founding the Walla Walla Savings and Loan. His wife, America, who was most likely born into slavery, lived here as a free woman and raised children in this community.

Richard and America Bogle are the very definition of the American dream. However, they have not been given the love they deserve.

Growing up, I learned about the Whitmans, Lewis and Clark and the Cayuse tribe. I learned about the pioneers that came to our Valley. However, I never learned about people who looked like me. It was not until I was 30 years old that I realized Black people walked the streets of early Walla Walla.

This must change. I respectfully ask the Fort Walla Walla Museum to answer how it has permanently preserved the memories of Black pioneers, outside of a living performance?

I also ask the Walla Walla schools how they have diversified their history curriculum to assure families like the Bogles are no longer looked over in our city’s history?

Finally, I ask the Walla Walla City Council how it intends to promote the diverse history of the city.

Walla Walla was built by many people and it is time for families like the Bogles to be memorialized by their hometown.

The Bogles are buried at Mountain View Cemetery near Walla Walla High School. They are still here, with us. So I ask my hometown, as a child of the Walla Walla Valley, to not forget them, or any other Black Walla Wallans any longer.

Nikki Brueggeman

San Diego