Tacoma renames park to honor Washington’s first African-American female state senator

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma Metro Parks announced Wednesday that the city is renaming one of its parks after Senator Rosa Franklin, the first African-American woman to serve as a state senator.

New park signs were unveiled on Thursday morning.

“Rosa entered the political scene following a 42-year career as a nurse who cared for wounded veterans, disabled children, newborns, and women from all walks of life,” city officials said. “She put her dedication for community health to work in politics beginning in 1990 when she served in the House of Representatives on behalf of Tacoma’s 29th District.

“Senator Franklin is without question an outstanding individual, who forged a path for herself through adversity and built connections to advance the causes of social justice, healthcare, and racial equity in Tacoma and throughout Washington state,” Metro Parks Commissioner Aaron Pointer stated.

In January 1993, Franklin was appointed to the senate to fill in the remainder of late Senator A.L. Rasmussen’s term. She was elected to the position in November 1993.

Franklin was not only the first African-American woman to serve as state senator, but was also only the fourth African American to serve in the Senate up to that time.

Franklin retired in 2012.

In February 2021, the Board of Park Commissioners voted unanimously to rename Tacoma’s Franklin Park as Senator Rosa Franklin Park.

The park is located at 1201 S Puget Sound Avenue in Central Tacoma and features play and spraygrounds, a baseball field, community garden, natural areas and walking trails.