Volunteering for Empire

Volunteering for Empire:
Wars of 1898 and Seattle’s Volunteer Park

A community event on May 7, 2022

Join us to learn how local history connects to the War of 1898 and stimulates larger questions, such as how racism has influenced and shaped American foreign policy.

Volunteer Park Trust and UW’s Southeast Asia Center and Center for Global Studies invite you to Volunteering for Empire: The Wars of 1898 and Seattle’s Volunteer Park, a presentation and discussion centered on a memorial plaque located near the water tower in the park that was recently removed due to concerns about its accuracy.

Admission is free and tickets can be obtained at Eventbrite.

Volunteer Park was originally “City Park,” and was renamed in 1901 to honor the veterans of the War of 1898 (also known as the Spanish-American War). The commemorative plaque installed in 1953 described that war as a war of liberation for the peoples of the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. But history no longer sees, and many people at the time did not see, this war as one of liberation, but rather one of imperial conquest.

The program will discuss why the memorial plaque was problematic in the context of the history of the war and its aftermath. It will also examine larger questions, such as how racism has influenced and shaped American foreign policy, and how we grapple with the consequences and outcomes of American wars.

It will feature a presentation by Abe Ignacio, co-author of “The Forbidden Book,” a history of the war told through contemporary political cartoons. University of Washington Department of History Professors Vicente Rafael and Ileana Rodriguez-Silva will discuss the wars and their connection to Volunteer Park in a panel moderated by Professor Christoph Giebel of the Jackson School of International Studies.

Event Details

Saturday, May 7, 2022

3:00 PM (PST)

Seattle Asian Art Museum, Stimson Auditorium
Volunteer Park
1400 East Prospect St.
Seattle, WA 

The program will also be live streamed for remote viewing via Volunteer Park Trust’s Facebook page @volparktrust

Jennifer Ott
Elizabeth Abrahamson

Sponsored by the Volunteer Park Trust, the UW Center for Global Studies, and the UW Southeast Asia Center | Co-hosts: Capitol Hill Historical SocietyEl Centro de la RazaFilipino American National Historical Society, and Friends of the Conservatory