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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sundee Frazier tells Northwest Passages audience she hopes to spur race-relations dialogue

UPDATED: Wed., Oct. 20, 2021

Sundee Frazier’s was the first Black family to move onto Empire Avenue in Spokane in the 1940s.

The award-winning author said she hopes her new historical fiction book, “Mighty Inside,” which is powered by her family’s Spokane stories, helps move the race-relations dialogue in the U.S. another step.

“I hope that it will just add to the conversation in terms of writing the historical record,” Frazier said.

Frazier was Tuesday night’s guest of The Spokesman Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club at the Montvale Event Center in Downtown Spokane. It was moderated by NAACP President Kiantha Duncan.

The book centers on lead character Melvin, who represents Frazier’s father, a 13-year-old boy who plays the accordion and tries to overcome his speech impediment while entering high school.

“He’s trying to find his voice and his place in 1955 Spokane,” Frazier said. “He’s coming of age at this time in history in a part of the country that we don’t associate with the Civil Rights Movement. However, we had our own struggles here too.”

Frazier said it took about 10 years on and off to write the book. She said she wanted to show the dignity, perseverance and joy of the Black community.

“I really wanted it to be so compelling and beautiful, in terms of telling the story of my Black people,” she said.

Duncan said she believes the book should be a mandatory read in Spokane Public Schools.

“It’s truthful, but it’s really gentle in how you’re having these conversations, and sometimes that’s what we need,” Duncan said.

“Mighty Inside” released on Oct. 12. It can be preordered from Wishing Tree Book Store.

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