Mar 13, 2024 - History

This week in Seattle history

A hand carved whale totem on top of a car.

A hand-carved whale totem by artist Jewell James was sent from Seattle to Florida in 2018 to create awareness and protest for the release of Lolita aka Tokitae. Photo: Sam Navarro/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Here is a look at some of the March events that shaped Seattle and Washington from HistoryLink, an online encyclopedia of state history.

March 8, 1921: Washington Gov. Louis F. Hart signed the Alien Land Bill barring non-white immigrants from buying, owning or leasing land in the state.

  • The bill mandated the confiscation of any land purchased before or after the act's passage, without compensating the immigrant owners.
  • It wasn't repealed until 1967.

March 8, 1970: Native American protesters and their supporters clashed with military police in an attempt to reclaim Fort Lawton for local tribes.

March 9, 1995: Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro joined Gov. Mike Lowry to launch a "Free Lolita!" campaign urging the release of the captive orca locally known as Tokitae, who was taken from Penn Cove off Whidbey Island and later sold to the Miami Seaquarium.

March 11, 1952: Seattle voters defeated a hotly contested proposal to add fluoride to the city's drinking water by an overwhelming margin.

  • Voters defeated fluoridation again in 1963, but approved it in 1968 at the recommendation of dentists who said it would help fight tooth decay.

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