Community Celebration Historical Archive! News You Can Use! Uncategorized We are under attack!



On Friday the 13th of January, before the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend, the Prosecutor for the City of Seattle dropped all charges against Earl Debnam for painting while sitting on the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center’s property — but “without prejudice”, which means that the Prosecutor may resume charging Earl at any time up to the statute of limitations.

This outcome was not the result of negotiations. Earl is grateful for the renewed attention on his and Omari’s struggle for a real world class African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center. Earl was looking forward to submitting evidence at trial and to demanding records from the City through the trial discovery process.

Was the city trying to keep Earl’s and the AAHMCC’s evidence from being circulated widely? Or is the City concerned about this amazingly embarrassing body cam video of Earl’s arrest getting out?

Below are the exhibits that Earl had submitted to his attorney to be introduced into evidence before the City Prosecutor indicated that the City would be dropping all charges. Note the evidence below that the NAAM Scam continues to outright lie on its webpage to this day!

For what it’s worth, Earl’s Public Defender predicted that all charges would be dropped as soon as he saw the body cam footage. On the video multiple SPD officers insist that Earl Debnam is Omari Tahir, even as Earl repeatedly states his name and points to his name on the list of Board of Directors for the REAL African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, founded in 1985 and which lives on to this day.

Even after the cops’ own superior officer arrived to the scene and said, “That’s not Omari”— officers pulled up a photo of Omari online and continued insisting that Earl is actually Omari!!

Clearly the City didn’t have a case and was wasting taxpayer dollars to try to harass Earl into silence and for the AAHMCC to give up their rightful claims to the Colman School building.

Here, let’s go through Earl’s evidence together.

Exhibits A & B: These photos are from the police report of Earl’s arrest on June 3, 2022 which shows the front and back sides of a magnified and laminated copy of the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center’s 2021 annual report filed with and stamped by the Washington State Secretary of State, which he was holding when SPD arrested him outside the Colman School building, currently occupied by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and the Northwest African American Museum or NAAM Scam.

Exhibit C. Screenshot from NAAM’s website honoring Earl Debnam by name in the legacy of the NAAM

Exhibit D. Screenshot from NAAM’s website discussing the relationship between the AAHMCC, the ULMS and NAAM

Exhibit E. Signed Purchase & Sale Agreement between AAHMCC and the Seattle School District No 1 dated 1-16-1998

Exhibit F. AAHMCC’s proof of availability of funds dated 10-20-1999

Notice how the NAAM Scam still falsely claims on their website that the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center was founded as a non-profit organization in 1993, but the official stamped report from the WA State Secretary of State in Exhibit A shows that the AAHMCC has been formally registered since 1985.

The NAAM Scam goes on to claim that the “Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle .. takes [over] the project” of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, but as you can see, the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center is still alive and well and registered to a Board of Directors that includes Omari Tahir, Earl Debnam, Wyking Garrett, Gabriel Prawl and others.

How shameless of NAAM to name Earl and Omari on their website as part of the legacy of winning the Colman School building, but then contract with Allied Security Services and make agreements with the SPD to arrest them on site, endangering the lives of our Black elders.

To this date, the Seattle School Board has never engaged in a formal process for terminating the signed Purchase & Sale Agreement with the AAHMCC.

The fact is that the AAHMCC beat the City and the settler courts at their own game. They won. The Washington State Secretary of State says that Omari is the President of the organization that had a signed purchase and sale agreement with the Seattle School District.

But the establishment united behind the Black bourgeoisie to steal the Colman School right out from under the feet of the activists who occupied the building without water and electricity for 13 long years, and the courts refuse to consider the evidence of this ongoing wrongdoing.

Our elders are getting old. Will they anoint respected movement leaders with the fearless revolutionary spirit to continue this struggle? Will the longest occupation of a public building in US history really end with the building triple mortgaged and defaulted by the corrupt Urban League? Time will tell. One thing is for sure: Earl is not done painting yet. Come visit Earl outside the Colman School building where he enjoys painting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and sometimes Saturdays.

Art Exhibition! Historical Archive! History Exhibition! News You Can Use! We are under attack!

AAHM&CC 2022 Art Recovery Report

Part 1 of 2

This post series is drawn from a July 2022 report documenting the condition of AAHM&CC artworks recovered and documented on April 10, 2022 at Public Storage on MLK.

On March 6, 2022, workers hired by the Urban League dismantled the African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center (AAHM&CC) installations in the courtyard of the Colman School building at 2300 South Massachusetts Street. They cut into the modular shed housing the art studio and art storage. Many artworks in the shed were relocated to a locker at a Public Storage facility on Martin Luther King Jr Way S at I-5. Some artworks were not brought to shed and are lost.

Our volunteers examined the artworks upon recovery. They recorded written condition notes, and performed photo documentation using smartphone cameras.

Storage conditions upon recovery

Art shed artworks and other objects were jammed together in a small storage locker. Small paintings, objects and works on paper were scattered in black plastic bags or clear plastic. Moisture was present in some bags, which promoted mold growth. Stacked crates with hoses on top were tipped onto large paintings on canvas, causing distortion and other damage.

1 – Storage of paintings on discovery

Storage of paintings on discovery

2 – Ongoing mechanical damage to paintings

Damage to 2021 painting by artist in residence Earl Debnam

3 – Earl Debnam in his AAHM&CC studio, June 2021

Earl Debnam in his AAHM&CC studio, June 2021

Many paintings by artist in residence Earl Debnam were damaged during their seizure and storage. Volunteers inventoried and documented Debnam’s works created during the 2020-2022 AAHM&CC occupation, allowing comparison with their current condition. This is the condition of one of these paintings after its recovery.

4 – 2021 painting by Earl Debnam before damage

2021 painting by Earl Debnam before damage

5 – Damaged painting with several scratches to paint layers circled

Damaged painting with several scratches to paint layers circled

This oil painting was stored in direct contact with heavy objects and hoses during storage. The paint surface is now disrupted by long scratches. The canvas now has significant planar distortion, which can be seen more easily on the unpainted reverse side of the canvas. There is also mold damage on the reverse. The planar distortion may reverse on its own as the canvas rests, however the other condition issues require conservation treatment.

5 – Reverse side of painting before damage

Reverse side of painting before damage

6 – Reverse side of damaged painting with several areas of planar distortion circled

Reverse side of damaged painting with several areas of planar distortion circled
News You Can Use! We are under attack!


Thank you to all of the community members who came out to support Earl on Monday. Thanks to community support, no conditions were placed on Earl ahead of trial.

The judge even acknowledged that “there’s clearly more to this case” then was found in the police report, an acknowledgment that is being interpreted as recognition that Earl’s arrest was clearly political.

He’s still charged with 1st degree criminal trespass even though he didn’t go inside the building, damage the premises in any way, or harm anyone. That’s right, he’s charged with 1st degree criminal trespass simply for sitting in his wheelchair and painting outside of the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) building where he’s celebrated for his role, alongside fellow elder Omari Tahir and others, in winning the Colman School building for the community.

The NAAM Scam’s own website names Earl as a community hero, …

… while they have him arrested for painting outside of the building they celebrate him for helping to win. Earl, Omari and others lived inside the Colman School for years without water or electricity as its very first artist-in-residence — from 1985 until 1998 when the activists were raided and dispossessed by an SPD SWAT team — enduring so much so that the building might become a world renowned African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, complete with an instrument library and programming to develop the talent and skills of young community artists and keep youth off of the streets.

NAAM Scam and the Urban League colluded with the Gates Family, Norm Rice, the City of Seattle and the FBI to steal the Colman School from the activists whose vision, dedication and sacrifice over the course of 13 years won them a signed purchase and sale agreement with the Seattle School Board for the property. The Seattle School Board publicly accepted their down payment for the building at a public meeting documented by the Seattle Times, only to later return it.

The first director of the NAAM Scam is a proud FBI agent Carver Gayton (whose son is the policy advisor for King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay). Bill Gates’ mother Mimi Gates and former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice are both founding and current board members of NAAM.

Elders Earl and Baba Omari, supported by a younger generation of revolutionary black activists and their native, brown and white accomplices, began reoccupying the premises outside of the Colman School on Juneteenth 2020 in the wake of the George Floyd Uprising. It is long overdue that the City and the Urban League correct past injustices and pass the building on debt-free with a programming budget to the new generation of grassroots black activists and their accomplices who are the rightful inheritors of our courageous elders’ legacy of revolution and resistance to create a real African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center for today’s youth.

Come support Earl and the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center at Earl’s next hearing on Oct 19, 10:30 am, Seattle Superior Court, Courtroom 1002

News You Can Use! We are under attack!

CALL FOR SUPPORT: Original AAHM&CC Artist -In-Residence Arrested While Painting!

On the afternoon of June 3rd, 2022, 74-year-old black elder and renowned artist Earl Debnam was arrested while painting outside of the building where he served as artist-in-residence of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center from 1985-1998 in the longest occupation of a public building in US History.

The City Attorney is pressing charges against our elder for 1st degree criminal trespass!

He has a hearing scheduled in Seattle Municipal Court

September 19, 2022 at 9am

Courtroom 903

You can support by writing to the City Attorney, posting on social media, sending words of encouragement to Earl, and showing up to his hearing on Monday September 19th.

More About the Arrest:

Documents from the arrest indicate that NAAM is contracting with apartheid mercenaries!

The Northwest African American Museum founded with intervention by the FBI and backed by the Gates Foundation and the City of Seattle appears to have contracted with Allied Security Services, the same private security firm that is not only patrolling Seattle Police HQ, the downtown courts, and City Hall, but is also providing security for foreign oil corporations in Iraq, has a share of ownership in training the Israeli police and is involved in the transportation and deportation of immigrants from the UK to the US. Last year, Allied Universal acquired the notorious G4S.

A worker with Allied Security identified themself as patrolling the “Northwest African American Museum” in a 911 call when they called the police to remove Earl from the premises.

From the police report:

“W/CH works for Allied Security and was conducting her rounds and checking on the African Museum. She walked over to the fenced area securing the main entrance and saw the entry gate unlocked and opened. It appeared that someone had removed a padlock that had been in place the night prior. She observed a male sitting in a wheelchair at the main doorway. She contacted him and he identified him self as Debman, Earl C. 12/23/1947. She advised him that he was not allowed to be on the property and that he needed to leave. S/Debman refused and stated that he had rights to the property and would not leave. W/CH could not convince him to leave and called 911.

“Officers were aware that S/ Debman was a member of a Omari Garretts s activist group which has ongoing court issues with the African Museum / Urban League Village. There is a valid and served King County Motion for Summary Judgement and Issuing Writ Restitution (order # 21-2-04082-5). The order prohibits members of the activist group from coming within 2000 ft of the property.

“Officers contacted S/ Debnam, Earl C. 12/23/1947 who was sitting at the front entrance. He presented a large laminated letter listing Omari Garrett, along with his name and others. The letter claimed that he had right to the property.”

Community Celebration Historical Archive! IN SOLEMN MOURNING News You Can Use! We are under attack!

Hear Malcolm X, as he actually spoke!

The actual speeches of Malcolm X (May 19, 1921 – February 21, 1965) are significantly different than the imaginary movie script speeches Denzel Washington spoke into Spike Lee’s camera for the 1992 entertainment film.

AAHM&CC Commemorates Malcolm X

It could be said (and are saying it), that the fiction version of Malcolm X begins that movie acting more hostile toward white people than real-life Malcolm ever acted, and ends the movie being more conciliatory toward them than real-life Malcolm ever was.

The AAHM&CC urges you to listen to these essential speeches, so you can compare and contrast the real and the fiction versions for yourself, drawing your own conclusions.

By Any Means Necessary
We Want Complete Separation
Conditions Blacks Face, Part 1
Conditions Blacks Face, Part 2
Conditions Blacks Face, Part 3
Keep That White Man’s Claws Off Our Women
Racist In Reverse
The Crisis of Racism
End Police Brutality
Opposing Military Service
We Have No Freedom
The Cure of White’s Disease

America’s Race Problem

FBI and Black Muslims

Harlem Unity Rally (in 12 parts)
Don’t Sit In. Stand Up.

“Our Problems Are Your Problems”

You Can’t Hate the Roots of a Tree and Not Hate the Tree
“Think For Yourself” speech

Ballot Or Bullet, Cleveland OH version, April 3, 1964

No Such Thing as a Peaceful Revolution

MALCOLM X SPEAKS (full pdf of the book)

Black Nationalism Can Set Us Free

Historical Archive! News You Can Use! We are under attack!

UPDATE: Elder Omari Tahir gives interview with Converge Media, March 7th, 2022, after Urban League / Cops raid us yet again.

Update: Elder Omari Tahir gives interview with Converge Media, March 7th, 2022, after Urban League & Cops raid us yet again.

News You Can Use!



On March 19, 2021 the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle publicly published this “Official Statement” about our African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center and its building, which they inaccurately claim to own.

They allege in this statement that they want to have an open and transparent conversation.

However, they then immediately claim to profess what they call “some important historical context”, in which they—once again—brazenly attempt to erase the history of the AAHM&CC. The most obvious and glaring problem with their narrative is that it pretends no history took place at the AAHM&CC building between 1993 and 2002!

The Urban League simply will not discuss the major events which occurred there in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 or 2001, because the history of those years reinforces the case of the AAHM&CC, not of the Urban League.

Anyone who studies those years of this recorded struggle (available right here on this website) will see that the Urban League is lying when it claims our organization abandoned the building in 1993, or that the building then became, in their words, an “unoccupied and closed altogether” land without a people (for their financiers who wanted more land).

While some corporate newspapers did inaccurately claim that the 1985 public building sit-in ended in 1993 (thereby alleging that it lasted only 8 years instead of the actual 13), and while some of the AAHM&CC’s activists did temporarily withdraw in late 1993 (because the City told them their demands were being met), the true facts of the matter are that the Coleman School building was at all times continuously occupied by AAHM&CC volunteers and equipment from November 23, 1985 through June 4, 1998. The Urban League knows this is a fact, and is choosing to willfully lie about it.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then this official public City document, the 1994 Final Report of Mayor Norm Rice’s African American Heritage Museum And Cultural Center Committee, could not exist. Clearly the Urban League wishes it didn’t exist. Fortunately for humanity, though, it does.

Our AAHM&CC plan for a world class museum and cultural center, filling all floors and rooms with recording studios, performance halls, radio stations, design labs, educational exhibitions and much more, is all in direct continuity with that 1994 Final Report!

It is what we have been working towards since 1981, and is what we will fight for as long as necessary, by any means necessary.

Neither our Founders’ Vision nor the 1994 Report are in any way compatible with the shell game apartment scheme managed by a notorious slumlord enforcement agency with only 1.5 Yelp stars.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then this Autumn 1996 PI Article about the public hearing on the School District’s sale of Coleman School to us (the AAHM&CC) could never have been written. Clearly the Urban League wishes it hadn’t been written. Fortunately for humanity, it was.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then the Seattle School Board could never have formally approved this sale of the building to us (the AAHM&CC) in July of 1997. Clearly this happened, or the Seattle Times could not have covered it. But, “fast forward (from 1993) to 2002” cries the Urban League.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then the January 16th, 1998, mutually signed and notarized purchase and sale contract itself (still never terminated by any foreclosure proceeding whatsoever) could never have been created. Clearly the Urban League wishes it had never been signed. Fortunately for humanity, it was.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then the corporate power structure would never have found it necessary to send a SWAT Team to attack us (The AAHM&CC) and force us out of our own building on June 4th, 1998. The Urban League wants this act of state violence erased from history because they are its primary beneficiary.

If Urban League’s narrative were true, then the 1999 peoples’ democratic uprising against the World Trade Organization in Seattle would/could never have included this multiracial and international working class effort to help the AAHM&CC retake our building from the previous year’s police raid. The Urban League clearly wants history to forget this ever happened. Fortunately for humanity, we won’t.

If the Urban League’s narrative were true, then the Seattle Public School District could never have publicly received their down-payment on our building from us (the AAHM&CC) at their meeting in March of 2000, which we delivered to them in spite of the fact that we had–by that time–been illegally locked out of our own building through state violence for over 17 consecutive months. Clearly the Urban League wishes we’d never succeeded in delivering that check. Fortunately for humanity, we did.

If the Urban League were truly a champion on behalf of low-income tenants, as it claims to be, then it would never have been necessary, in 2001, for our community to pressure it to answer the simple question of whether its housing-unit plans for the building consisted of affordable apartments or high-end condominiums. The Urban League was initially alarmingly ambiguous about this, and wished we’d not even pressured them to specify. Fortunately, we did. But the housing in question still turned out substandard and wrongly located.

If Gunslinger James Kelly were really the hero Urban League still says he is, he would not have been flashing a firearm at unarmed high school students on an allegedly weapons-free campus in 2002, the same year in which Urban League’s March 19, 2021 statement claims he was saving the day.

Were James Kelly that hero, he also would not have so closely involved the Urban League with those particular Seattle Public Schools Superintendents (such as Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Joseph Olchefske*) who consistently either get fired, resign or claim to be resigning in disgrace over financial scandals. Nor would he have associated it so closely with Kelly’s other crony—School District Attorney Ron English Esquire, who quietly “retired” from the School District in 2015 after being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation which was politely declared “closed upon his retirement, with no findings”. *(Joseph Olchefske took over from Superintendent John Stanford, who signed our January 16, 1998 Purchase & Sale Agreement as the seller, only to die of leukemia later the same year. The illegal double-sale alleged transfer of our building to the Urban League was then engineered on Olchefske’s watch, by Ron English Esquire. Ron English, like the Urban League, liked to deny that Stanford had ever signed our Purchase & Sale Agreement. English publicly repeated this lie from the time of Stanford’s death until March of 2003, when Mary Bass—the School Board’s only African American member at the time—compelled him to begrudgingly confess that Stanford had not only signed the Agreement, but had done so in the presence of a notary! Even after this confession, English kept advocating the illegal transfer of our building to James Kelly’s Urban League.)

The Urban League’s March 19th statement also repeats a familiar litany of false accusations against us, which we have already rebutted and debunked in detail six times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) since June 2020. So, we won’t take up a lot of space here responding to them again, other than to link our previous extensive rebuttals above.

In very brief, needless to say, the AAHM&CC of course does not foul our own building with feces. That is a sensational slander which white supremacists have been spreading about us since 1993, to which the Urban League is now apparently adding its name.

Also, of course, the AAHM&CC volunteers do not brandish weapons, harass people or issue death threats. That is the frequent behavior of the Urban League’s loyalists, including its contracted (and City-approved) muscle firm Coast Property Management,  which grants physical roof access to people who hurl dangerous projectiles downward at the AAHM&CC, calls towing companies against our volunteers for parking in our own parking spots (which are clearly marked “MUSEUM”), and whose mentally unstable long-time armed employee—after a lengthy documented history of brandishing weapons and issuing death threats—shot two innocent young women in that same parking lot last month, one of them fatally.

The UL’s statement goes on to claim that they have attempted dialogue with us, the AAHM&CC (albeit while attempting to reduce us to the single persona of one of our beloved co-founding elders, Omari Tahir Garrett). This so called “attempted dialogue” is a matter of record. Since June 2020, the Urban League has only ever told Omari one thing, and that is to leave.

The last such formal dialogue occurred in August 2020, and, as of this posting, we are still patiently awaiting the Urban League’s reply to our last letter of the 28th of that month.

As we have said before, it is important to understand on whose behalf the Urban League tells these lies.

The AAHM&CC has been in this fight since 1985, and will continue the fight for as long as it takes to build this urgently needed peoples’ facility.

Free The Land – The AAHM&CC

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The AAHM&CC has become aware that, on the Tuesday of March 16th, an Urban League official sent a cryptic and threatening message to one of our volunteers in the form of a personal cell phone text.

At the request of our registered agent, our website is transcribing and publishing the text of this message here, with the personal name of the recipient deleted.

It reads:

“******, we looking into re-purposing the museum to serve as a cultural center. That will take time. However the many complaints by tenants about the encampment must be addressed. Omari must go or be removed first. There is no interest any longer in working something out while he is present. I tried hard in good faith. What will happen will happen. I hope he will consider coming to the table to work out a solution that honors him, and respects the tenants.”

The most important detail about this latest act of bullying by the Urban League is that it contains those two important confessions: 1), that the building really should be a cultural center, and 2), that the Urban League to date has NOT been operating it as a cultural center.

Of course, by the word “tenants”, the UL is referring, on the one hand, to the individuals in search of residential housing to whom they are falsely representing themselves as the building’s owners, and whom they are illegally charging monetary “rent” to unsafely and uncomfortably inhabit a building that is neither intended for residential use nor owned by the organized criminals collecting this “rent”. They are simultaneously referring, on the other hand, to their subsidiary spinoff organization, known to the people as the “NAAM Scam”, illegally occupying the ground floor of the building.

No matter how often the Urban League repeats the lie that the AAHM&CC an “encampment”, it will still be a lie.

We are the true authentic Musuem, and we continue to stand for the implementation of the publicly documented and officially designated use of the former Coleman School premises, firmly established by the City of Seattle itself since February of 1994, as is clearly demonstrated in the  45-page report of the MAYOR’S AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER COMMITTEE.

We also continue to stand on our mutually signed and sealed Purchase and Sale Agreement which has made our organization the rightful owner of the building since January of 1998, which you can view here. This agreement has never been terminated by any foreclosure process, and is still as valid as the day it was signed, despite the habitual tendency of white power structures to break their treaties.

We are present in furtherance of these official public documents.

Museums routinely host exhibitions, both indoors and out. Our current emphasis is on outdoor exhibits precisely because the Urban League racketeers are presently illegally squatting inside of our building and have locked the door from the inside, which unfortunately renders the interior of the building inaccessible to its authentic purpose at this time.

Naturally, our outdoor exhibits, and the items necessary for their maintenance, are valuable, and therefore require the presence of round-the-clock human security personnel. Also, naturally, our security personnel must be furnished with the ability to take naps and nourishment to refresh themselves to continue the performance of their duties. Nothing about this constitutes an “encampment”.

In contrast to us, The Urban League, its subsidiary flag-independent ground-floor “tenant” organization, and its corrupt supporters within city and county government have been willfully and illegally obstructing this good public project with force and violence since June 4th, 1998, occupying the building for profiteering objectives contrary to its authentic designated use.

Contrary to the what is alleged in the Urban League’s dishonest threat, the Urban League has never yet “tried hard in good faith” to “work something out while he (AAHM&CC Co-Founder Omari Tahir) is present”. The Urban League’s one and only proposal to Omari Tahir since Juneteenth of 2020 has been its unconditional demand that he once again leave his own building. This is a matter of record. Its last formal exchange of dialogue with us was in August of 2020, and we have been patiently awaiting its reply to our last letter since the 28th day of that month. It has yet to reply, apparently preferring to open personal side channels with our individual volunteers and attempting to bully them.

In spite of all of this, the Urban League’s admission that the building should be a cultural center, and has not been used as one on their watch, is a significant bit of progress.

We can agree on at least one other thing as well. “What will happen”, will indeed happen. The AAHM&CC has been in this fight since 1985, and will continue the fight for as long as it takes to build this urgently needed peoples’ facility.

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AAHM&CC Launches Community Audit of NAAM Scam, Calls On Elected Officials to Investigate the Illegal Double-Sale of Coleman School!

September 10, 2020,

The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center has addressed a letter to leaders of Seattle and King County, calling their attention to the facts we have so far uncovered through our independent community audit of the NAAM Scam racketeering and illegal double-sale of the Coleman School building.

We are calling upon these officials to defend the public trust by conducting their own investigations into this scandalous injustice.