Mayor Jenny A. Durkan transmitted to City Council legislation to rename a portion of Capitol Hill’s East Denny Way “Barbara Bailey Way” in honor of the late LGTBQ+ and civil rights champion, Barbara Bailey, who passed away in September 2018.
Under the legislation, the City of Seattle would officially rename the designated Festival Street portion of East Denny Way between Broadway East and 10th Avenue East to East Barbara Bailey Way, near the site of Bailey’s former small business, Bailey/Coy Books. The official street name change would take effect 30 days following City Council’s passage of the Mayor’s legislation.
“Barbara loved Seattle and she poured herself into making it better. She was an early pioneer for LGBTQ+ rights. Her bookstores were safe, welcoming places for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Mayor Durkan. “She cheered on public good and fought against any injustice. She championed civil rights here in Seattle for communities of color and for the LGBTQ+ community. Her mark on Seattle cannot be overstated; Capitol Hill would not be Capitol Hill, were it not for Barbara. She went to school there, lived there, built a business there and cheered the neighborhood on like few others. No LGBTQ+ person would have been elected to any office in this region were it not for Barbara Bailey. Always and forever, Barbara will be an incredible example of a leader who demanded equity, justice and fairness for all. I urge City Council to pass this legislation and help honor the life and legacy of one of Seattle’s great civil rights champions.”
Click here to read Mayor Durkan’s full September 2018 remembrance of Bailey.
“My sister had the biggest heart of any activist I have ever known. It was why her bookstore meant so much to the community. In Barbara’s world everyone felt included. Everyone felt loved. And everyone felt respected,” Said Thatcher Bailey, Barbara’s brother and CEO of the Seattle Parks Foundation. “It is a fitting tribute to her memory that this street will connect the new AIDS Memorial Pathway plaza to Cal Anderson Park. Just like Bailey/Coy Books was in her lifetime, Barbara Bailey Way will be a sweet and soulful gathering place for everyone in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.”
“It’s important for our city to remember Barbara Bailey, who through her love of books and attention to her neighborhood, not only helped foster a sense of community, but created a community space that is welcoming to all. I hope her memory inspires us all to take care of our neighbors and to be lifelong learners through reading,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6, Northwest Seattle).
A Seattle native and graduate of the University of Washington, in 1977 Bailey opened her first bookstore in Seattle, B. Bailey Books, that would mark the beginning of her career as a successful small business owner and advocate for over 30 years.
In 1982, Barbara Bailey opened her second store, Bailey/Coy Books on Broadway Avenue, which served as a fixture of the Capitol Hill LGBTQ+ community for more than 25 years, granting booklovers and authors a gathering space, and which also provided a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals and youth at the height LGBTQ+ persecution in our country.
Bailey was also a founder of the Pride Foundation, which was founded in 1985 during the height of the HIV & AIDS crisis.