... the tales of two sisters

Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.

In Memory of Daddy and Yesler Street

  – Charlie James

Last night we had our annual dinner with the Singlers and Bowns.  These are truly life-long family friends, I have known since birth.  Our families were neighbors and with their kids, Carrie and Sandra sandwiched between my sisters ages, we became “siblings.”  Our colorful, often loud conversation spans the fifty plus years of Central District history.  Joan, my other mother and Ed her husband and a surrogate father, were  anomalies as a white family living in the heart of the segregated CD, fighting for racial equality.  Their fight included pickets, and boycotting establishments that would not hire minorities.

Inevitably, our conversation flowed to one of Joan’s neighborhood nemesis, today’s birthday boy, my daddy, Gerald Frank.  These two had the most hysterical relationship, it is hard to put into words.  Daddy, always pushed the envelop, and one morning, Joan woke up to a bulldozer on her property line, where he was expanding his ever growing real estate empire.  Not one to consider housing regulations or codes, Daddy developed as he desired and took on the consequences with adverse possession once the project was complete.  Joan had fought greater monsters and would march down the hill, screaming “GERALD FRANK what gives you the right?”  Daddy would smile and tell her she wasn’t being neighborly.  And thus the battle would begin until they came to a resolve.


Daddy always took the law into his own hands.  My absolute favorite story is the deadbeat tenant that refused to pay rent one December.  As the inclement weather raged, Daddy showed up at the single family house on 22nd off Union street and removed the front door at 5 AM.  When the tenant awoke and called our home screaming his front door was missing, Daddy replied, “Ain’t that a coincidence, so is your rent!”

As we laughed and shared memories of Daddy, I decided to share insights recently posted on Charlie James, a community activist page.  What I want you to ask yourself is 22 years after you are gone, will people still be talking about you?  Love him or leave him… Daddy left his legacy.

Charlie James
Charlie James Says it all accept he would put money behind promoters, other business people and was the person who publicly said he would finance the MLK Park and got the ball rolling to raise the funds Finally a lot of people got their first rental opportunity from him because he was willing to go the extra mile to get you in. Got my first apt management job with Gerald..…
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Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald Frank Has Left His Mark On Central Area | Seattle Times Newspaper
Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald…
Business | A Man Of Property And Paradox — For Better Or Worse, Gerald Frank Has Left His Mark On Central Area | Seattle Times Newspaper

Got my first apartment with him…..

TaRessa Stovall Good article…thanks! My roommate and I were 18, living at 419 19th Ave next to Kitten…cops always outside the building. Woke up one Saturday to see Gerald and some of his guys walking around our apartment—two 18-year girls sleeping. I cussed him all the way out and he apologized and left. We learned of his propensity to randomly evict folks, so broke our lease and moved south. Fascinating obviously brilliant and complex man. Worthy of a book and/or movie. Oh and that million-dollar House was gorgeous!

Ivory Joe Harris I got to know him

Carmen Jones
Carmen Jones Yes, Gerald Frank was quite a character in Seattle history. While I was working with the Seattle Human Rights Department, we frequently came in contact with Gerald Frank during investigations of housing complaints. He holds an esteemed place in our history . . . quite the business man.

Robert F. Gant
Robert F. Gant Yes he would. he helped me finance numerous projects. We as a community are missing his type of commitment to black entrepreneurs.

Andre Wooten
Andre Wooten When I was an assistant City Attorney in the late 70s my job was to enforce the Seattle building code. Gerald Frank would by buildings needing repair, but he needed the rent to make his numbers work. So that put him in conflict with the City whic…See More

Harriett G Walden
Harriett G Walden I lived in of his place with Gas leak and we had to call the fire Department on him if we had been smoker we would have died.

Lillian Quarles
Lillian Quarles He was Good and Bad but He saw the worth in owning properties in the Central Area

NW Facts We Miss that era of Black Power within our community.

NaaSira Adeeba Ashe! Ase! And, putting it Politely; some people forgot, To Keep paying forward! “Kujichagulia!” ????

Roberto Jourdan
Roberto Jourdan He WANTED all black folks to get a head in life!

In honor of Daddy’s birthday, today, The Menopausebarbees are asking all of you inclined to make a donation to Charlie James  Black Community Association Account in Bank of America #138118645960.

As a part of Daddy’s legacy, we know, we still have work to do!  And as he said, “There ain’t no given in and no given’ out!