William Owen Bush. Courtesy of the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services.

A new monument honoring the Black pioneer George Bush and his family is set for installation on the Olympia Capitol Campus later this year.

The bronze plaque will be placed near the campus WWII monument. The Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) is helming the project, and the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) is overseeing installment. 

In 1845, George Bush and his wife Isabella established the first non-Indigenous American settlement in the region after moving from Missouri.

“George Bush and his family played a vital role in establishing Washington Territory as American soil,” said Jennifer Kilmer, WSHS director, in a release. “It took tremendous fortitude to migrate across the country into a little-known region, especially when also facing racism and discriminatory laws along the way.”

Their son, William Owen Bush, became Washington State’s first Black legislator in 1889, and was a founder of Washington State University. 

“This acknowledgment is more than something we talk about or a fun fact,” said Stephanie Johnson-Toliver, president of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State, in a release. “There will be a significant tribute to him on the campus, a place where we can point people. We can always talk about George Bush and lift him in our conversations, but to have him and his family recognized at the state level in this way is huge.” 

Read more about George Bush and his family history here.