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BlackPast Blend Featuring Noodles Smith
A 100% Tanzanian coffee, grown on the southern slopes of Mt. Mbeya by a cooperative of farmers 150 members strong. This coffee is washed and dried on raised beds. Light roasted with notes of chocolate, pomegranate and cranberry in the cup.
Zoka Coffee is partnering with BlackPast.org, the #1 website on Black history, to promote historical understanding and generate constructive change. We at Zoka recognize that it is not enough to simply condemn all forms of racism. We believe education is a vital first step to addressing racial injustice in Seattle and across the United States. While there are no easy solutions to the problems we face, we are committed to doing our part by investing our time, energy, and resources to advancing this initiative.
$5 from the sale of each 12 oz bag of BlackPast Blend Coffee is donated directly to BlackPast in support of their mission.
Our benefit blends are excluded from the Anniversary sale.
This release, the second in our BlackPast Blend Series, features E. Russell “Noodles” Smith, so named because he always kept enough money for a bowl of noodles after a night out. Noodles arrived in Seattle in 1909 and with a keen mind for business and bootlegging, amassed a fortune. Considered the “father of Seattle Jazz,” he owned several nightclubs that attracted musicians such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie. One of his clubs was named the “Black and Tan” because it admitted whites and Blacks. The automobile in the photo is identified as a Mercer Raceabout. Mercer was an American automobile manufacturer in New Jersey from 1909 until 1925. Noodles Smith is behind the wheel and the passenger is his business partner Burr Williams. The other two men standing have not been identified.
A number of Noodles Smith’s businesses were listed in the Negro Motorist Green Book, published between 1936 and 1967. The first Green Book edition to list Seattle was released in 1939 and included The Golden West Hotel, previously owned by Noodles. The expansive Golden West Hotel included an on-site barbershop, dining room, pool hall, and club. In 1927, Noodles sold the Golden West Hotel to the Jackson Hotel Company, a Japanese business which operated several Seattle hotels catering to African-American guests. The Smithsonian traveling exhibition, The Negro Motorist Green Book will be at the Washington State Historical Society in Tacoma starting in March 2022.
To learn more about Mr. E Russell Noodles Smith, and other African Americans in history, visit BlackPast.org
Photo courtesy of the Black Heritage Society of Washington State.