PeaceEastlake Park has served the inhabitants of Phoenix since the late 1880's. Originally known as Patton's Park, it was developed by the Phoenix Railway Company to serve as a recreational area for patrons of the city's trolley system. The park eventually became a place where people of color could meet to relax and celebrate special events without violating separatist laws which existed in the nation and state during the first half of the 20th century.
Eastlake Park's history is one of peace rather than confrontation. During the turmoil over civil rights in the state and nation, Eastlake Park provided a haven where discussion outweighed strife, where people met to protest peacefully, and where children played without care of the times.
Key events in the history of Eastlake Park and civil rights in the state and nation are engraved on the side of this centerpiece. A stylized depiction of the park as it appeared in 1895 is shown on top of the centerpeice. The arched canopy is modeled after the Arizona State Flag. Underneath the canopy are the "Steps of Honor," a space dedicated to the recording of the future of the park.
"Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow."Chief Joseph (Nez Perce Tribe) 1879,Artists: Ronald Turner and Shannon OwenPeace Marker Centerpiece Text by Ddecade1880
1883 U.S. Supreme Court reviews the Civil Rights Cases of 1883 (five cases concerning the civil rights of African Americans) and declares the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. Marks the beginning of a new struggle for equality in America.
1880 Total Phoenix population of 1708 included 5 blacks, 772 hispanics and 110 Asians
1885 Eastlake Park is known as Patton's Park
1886 Geronimo, an important leader of the Apache Tribe, is exiled from Arizona as a prison of war.
1887 African American Frank Shirley opens the Fashion Square Barber Shop in Phoenix. A civic leader, Shirley is responsible for finding jobs for mumerous African American in the community.
1895 Booker T. Washington delivers "Atlanta Exposition Speech" calling for African American community education and self-help.
1896 National Association for Colored Women is founded.
1896 The "Separate-but-Equal Doctrine" is held constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson.
1892 Eastlake Park is known as Phoenix Park.
1893 The Afro-American Society, a social organization is founded in Phoenix.
1899 The Colored Women's Club is founded in Phoenix.
1899 Phoenix's first African American church is dedicated at the corner of Jefferson and 2nd Street (now called "Tanner Chapel AME")
1905 W.E.B. DuBois convenes first meeting of the Niagara Movement.
1906 Nation's first major race riot occurs in Atlanta, Georgia.
1909 Niagara Movement merges with the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1906 African American William P. Crump founds the "Crump Hay and Grain Company" in Phoenix, a highly profitable fruit and produce business with a national market.
1909 Territorial legislature passes law allowing Arizona school districts to segregate African Americans from students of other racial backgrounds.
1915 The film, "Birth of a Nation" is boycotted by African Americans because it glorified the Ku Klux Klan. The Arizona Federation of Colored Women's Clubs leads protest that results in banning the film in Phoenix theaters in 1916.
1911 Booker T. Washington delivers a speech at East Lake Park.
1913 Arizona State Legislature passes the "Literacy Law," requiring persons to pass a literacy test as a requirement for voting eligibility.
1913 Elizabeth Harrison becomes the first African American to graduate from Phoenix Union High school.
1918 The "Department for Colored Students" is established in Phoenix which creates a separate high school system for African Americans.
1919 Maricopa County Branch of NAACP is established.
1922 "Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill" is passed by the House of Representatives but blocked by the U.S. Senate.
1921 Arizona State Legislature passes the "Alien Land Act" which denies Japanese aliens the right to own land in Arizona.
1921 African American doctor Winston C. Hackett opens the Booker T. Washington Hospital at Jefferson and 14th Street in Phoenix.
1923 Phoenix Union Colored High School is established at the corner of Jefferson and 9th Street. Moves to corner of Grant and 4th Street in 1926.
1927 Phyllis Wheatley Community Center opens in Phoenix at Jefferson and 14th Street as a meeting place for local African American organizations.
1939 African American contralto Marian Anderson performs an outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial after she is denied the use of Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. because of her race.
1934 The Anti-Alien Association is formed to oust Japanese farmers from the Salt River Valley, and the U.S. Department of Justice intervenes to stop the violence.
1935 Justo Chavez is the first Hispanic American elected to the Arizona State Legislature.
1936 Arizona Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the "Alien Land Act" of 1921. Arizona fails to rescind the law until 1978.
1941 A. Phillip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and other African American leaders threaten President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a march on Washington D.C. In response, President Roosevelt issues an Executive Order forbidding employment discrimination in defense industries.
1942 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) is founded.
1948 In Shelley v. Kraemer, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that state courts cannot be used to enforce racially restrictive covenants.
1940 Father Emmett McLoughlin leads efforts to acquire $1.9 million from the federal government to build three housing projects in Phoenix.
1943 Phoenix Union Colored High School is renamed George Washington Carver High School.
1945 African Americans conduct the first sit-in regarding public accomodations and civil rights in Phoenix.
1946 Wing F. Ong is the first Chinese American elected to the Arizona State Legislature.
1946 At a public meeting at Eastlake Park, the local NAACP Chapter calls for civil rights laws in Arizona.
1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act revamps the nation's immigration policy, and gives the right of citizenship to all immigrants.
1954 U.S. Supreme Court hands down the decision to abolish segregation in the schools in Brown v. the Board of Education.
1955 Rosa Parks (known as the "Mother of Civil Rights") gives increased visibility to the Civil Rights Movement by refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
1957 U.S. Congress passes the Civil Rights Act, the first major civil rights legislation since 1875.
1950 Carl Sims and Hayzel B. Daniels are the first African Americans elected to the Arizona State Legislature.
1953 Phoenix Union High School District desegregates its schools, one year before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education.
1954 Adam Diaz is the first Hispanic American elected to the Phoenix City Council.
1959 Willie Mays is refused accomodations in downtown Phoenix. New York Giants threaten to pull their spring training out of Phoenix and Mays is allowed in.
1963 200,000 people march on Washington, D.C. and Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his speech, "I Have a Dream."
1964 Martin Luther King Jr. is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in nonviolent protest of discrimination in America.
1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination in public accomodations and employment.
1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Voting Rights Act which suspends use of literacy and other voter qualification tests.
1960 Thomas Tang is the first Chinese American elected to the Phoenix City Council.
1962 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a speech in Tempe, Arizona at Goodwin Stadium.
1964 Rev. George B. Brooks and Dr. Lincoln J. Ragsdale, Sr. lead efforts to secure a public accomodations ordinance from the City of Phoenix.
1964 Richard Harris becomes the first African American reporter for the Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.
1965 Dr. Warren Morrison is the first African American elected to the Phoenix City Council.
1968 Vernell Coleman re-establishes the annual Juneteenth Celebration in Phoenix.
1970 Barbara Jordan of Texas becomes the first woman and African American to give a keynote address at a Democratic National Convention.
1970 Cloves Campbell, Sr. is the first African American elected to the Arizona State Senate.
1971 Calvin C. Goode, and African American, is elected to the Phoenix City Council, and serves 22 years - the longest term of any council member in Phoenix history.
1972 Arizona State Legislature repeals the "Literacy Law" of 1913.
1974 Raul Castro is the first Hispanic American elected as Governor of Arizona.
1983 U.S. Congress establishes the national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
1984 African American Jesse Jackson seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, and runs again in 1988.
1985 City of Phoenix adopts a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
1986 Governor Bruce Babbitt issues an Executive Order to declare a paid Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. In 1987, Governor Evan Meacham rescinds the order as a paid holiday, sparking marches on the State Capitol.
1991 Civil Rights Act is broadened to provide additional protections agains unlawful discrimination in employment.
1995 One million African American men march in Washington D.C. for unity and self-esteem.
1991 Hispanic American Ed Pastor is the first minority from Arizona elected to the U.S. Congress.
1992 Arizona state voters pass the first voter approved Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the nation.
1996 City of Mesa adopts the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
1996 Alumni purchase the historically significant George Washington Carver High School building for development as an African American Museum and Cultural Center.
Steps of Honor
"If there were to be a ray of light through a sky of racial storms, peace and calm amidst the chaos and disorder of segregation and suppression, Eastlake Park would be this light, this peace and calm."
John Cano, South Mountain High School, 12th Grade, 1997
"This year this Martin Luther King Day I hope we become more aware and learn to love more and kill less. I hope we don't just hear the 'I have a Dream' speech, but listen and realize that we need to stop the hurt, the death and come to life as people, not justa race."
Brandi Pearson, North High School, 12th Grade 1997
Some people hate me
I don't know why
Is it my color or
because of where I'm from?
I love them and
I don't know why.
But I feel proud of me today.
Martha Palomino, Shaw Elementary School, 5th Grade 1997
"I believe Civil Rights to me is freedom. Civil Rights to me is to do whatever you want to do and to be equally treated as others no matter what race you are, weight, size, sex, or things that are different or unique about yourself."
Michael Ovante, Phoenix Preparatory Academy, 8th Grade 1997