StoryCorps: A Daughter Remembers The Night Her Father Was Assassinated Edwin Pratt, the then-head of the Seattle Urban League, was assassinated in 1969 at his home. At StoryCorps, his daughter and her godmother remember him and the night he was shot.
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Her Dad Was A Slain Civil Rights Leader. She Remembers His Assassination

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Her Dad Was A Slain Civil Rights Leader. She Remembers His Assassination

Her Dad Was A Slain Civil Rights Leader. She Remembers His Assassination

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And it's time now for StoryCorps - today a story about the assassination of a civil rights leader. Throughout the 1960s, Edwin Pratt was the head of the Seattle Urban League. He argued that city to rally against discrimination in hiring, education and housing. On a snowy night in 1969, three men shot Pratt in his home while his wife and 5-year-old daughter Miriam were inside. Miriam came to StoryCorps recently with her godmother, Jean Soliz, who was her babysitter and neighbor at the time.

MIRIAM PRATT: When Martin Luther King was assassinated, my father was pacing back and forth. And he was emotional. I'd never seen him like that. So I ran back to my mother. And I'd said, daddy's in there crying. Daddy's in there crying. And she was like, it's OK, baby. Give him some time.

JEAN SOLIZ: That was only nine months before your father himself was killed in the same way. Now, he was a really busy civil rights leader, so he wasn't home all that much.

PRATT: Right.

SOLIZ: But your father spent his last day with you. He played snowballs with you and took you on your little sled and spent that whole day with you.

PRATT: I remember. I heard my mother cry, Edwin. And I sat up in the bed, and I was immediately engulfed in fear.

SOLIZ: My mom and I rushed over there. And when I saw that front door was open, I knew. I knew. I'll never forget walking into that family room, and I could see your dad laying there. And, of course, he was totally still. He died instantly.

PRATT: Then you came and got me, and I knew everything was going to be all right.

SOLIZ: You guys never lived again in your house.

PRATT: After his death, I was always frightened that whoever that was might try to come get us. She didn't really talk to me about him. If I brought him up, it would make her sad. She kept a photo album with all of the pictures of the assassination. And so I learned about him, basically, reading that.

SOLIZ: I wish she'd been able to talk to you about him, though...

PRATT: Me too.

SOLIZ: ...About his sense of humor, his astonishing singing voice...

PRATT: Right.

SOLIZ: And he was somebody who was quiet but had all the power in the room.

PRATT: I get sad, but I don't stay in that frame of mind because my parents didn't stay here long. But while they were here, they did everything humanly possible to make this a better world before they left it.

SOLIZ: That's right.

(SOUNDBITE OF SNAKE OIL'S "BLACK BAND OF WATER")

MARTIN: That was Miriam Pratt and Jean Soliz remembering the assassination of Miriam's father, Edwin Pratt. The case of his assassination has never been officially closed. Their interview will be archived along with hundreds of thousands of others at the Library of Congress.

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