10-year-old finds way to honor local civil rights leader decades after his death

SHORELINE, Wash. -- Sarah Haycox, 10, says she was walking through a park in Shoreline, Washington, when she came across something curious. It was a stone with a plaque and a tribute. It said: Edwin T. Pratt, 1930 - 1969.

"I'm like, 'Wow, that's a really short life," said Sarah. "I just did the quick math in my head and we're like, 'He died at 39.'"

otr-hartman-pratt-061518-frame-675.jpg
Sarah Haycox stumbled across a plaque for a man she didn't know. So she decided to learn more. CBS News

Since there were no other markings, and no one around to ask, Sarah did something quite extraordinary. She gave herself a homework assignment to find out all she could about the life and death of Edwin Pratt.  

She learned he was director of the Seattle Urban League, worked on school desegregation and was the first black person to move into Sarah's town. It was a bold and fatal decision. Pratt was assassinated, nine months after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

otr-hartman-pratt-061518-frame-1298.jpg
Edwin Pratt was the director of the Seattle Urban League and worked on school desegregation. CBS News

"It was just the lack of recognition that really, I think, maybe, stunned me," Sarah said. "It just felt like he's gotta have something more than just a plaque outside of a bathroom."

At about that same time, Sarah noticed that across the street from her school the district was putting up a new early-learning center. She found out it didn't have a name yet, and her wheels started turning. 

Sarah started a petition drive and went all over town, explaining to anyone who would listen why this new building should be named after Pratt.

otr-hartman-pratt-061518-frame-2037.jpg
Sarah Haycox CBS News

"It's difficult times, but brighter futures are ahead of us and it's because of kids like Sarah," said Curtis Campbell, who works with the school district.

Indeed, a lot of people in Shoreline have been inspired by Sarah and many have boarded her bandwagon. We saw her at her eighth school board meeting, which was by far the most important. That's because one of the board members did move to name the new school after Pratt.

The vote was unanimous, making Sarah's dream come true. Thanks to her, there will never be another kid in Shoreline who doesn't know the name Edwin T. Pratt. 

Someday, if she keeps up her efforts, everyone will also know the name Sarah Haycox.

For more information about Sarah's efforts to share Edwin Pratt's story, head to her GoFundMe page.

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.