Black History Today: D’Vonne Pickett Jr., fearless dreamer at home in Seattle's South End

This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a truly unsung hero of South Seattle, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his community and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.

“[Don’t] let anyone convince you that your dream, your vision to be an entrepreneur, is something that you shouldn’t do. What often happens is that people who are well meaning, who really care for us, are afraid for us and talk us out of it.”
-Cathy Hughes

By Marcus Harden

One of the misguided stereotypes that permeates the African-American community is that one must make it “out” by either excelling in entertainment or athletics. The notion is so pervasive that it affects even those who know in their hearts that there is more in the world for them. Yet, “What if a child dreamed of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

D’Vonne Pickett Jr. embodies the shattering of those norms. Born and raised in the Central District yet an alumni of the esteemed Rainier Beach High School, crown jewel of the South End and national athletic powerhouse, D’Vonne was an integral part of a WAIA 3A State Championship team.

Suffering a devastating knee injury his senior year, he began to really think about his life, his gifts and his talents. He would travel down a winding journey of self discovery and redemption that would eventually lead him to Seattle University on a basketball scholarship and, having peers that were attaining the stereotypical version of success, D’Vonne aspired for the same.

Known as the “heart and soul” or “glue guy” of any team he was a part of, D’Vonne’s name traveled in the gyms and streets as one of the most underrated talents Seattle had seen. Upon leaving Seattle University, his legend grew as he was named MVP of the annual Crawford Summer Pro-Am in 2015. Yet inside, D’Vonne always knew there was more, that there was another way for him to impact the community in which he grew up — the community that he loved.

When you meet D’Vonne the quiet demeanor will hide the still waters that run deep. Through his passion to want to be more than “just an athlete” — a notion he knew long before someone said to just “shut up and dribble” — D’Vonne is a living testament to being more.

Nowadays D’Vonne leans heavily on being the glue on his own team. In an age where “Black love” in younger communities is just a catch phrase, he honors the love of his life, his wife Keanna Pickett (they’ve been together since high school), as being his muse and his two (soon to be three!) children as his heartbeats. Those still waters roar in his eyes when he speaks of his family.

In 2018, D’Vonne and Keanna decided to honor their community legacy and his late grandfather by opening The Postman mail services office in the Central District where he grew up. D’Vonne Pickett’s great-grandfather, Jacques Chappell, worked as a United States Postal Service mail carrier in the Central District for 37 years. He passed away in February 2018, and a silhouette of his smiling face is the business logo for The Postman.

D’Vonne’s legend has now changed, and while he exemplifies all of the great things about the athlete/entertainer paradigm, he has shown an entire community what can happen when you dare to step outside of the box and become everything you dreamed of and more. He’s a committed family man, a fearless dreamer, and the heart and soul of a community his family has spent four generations in, and that is why D’Vonne Pickett Jr. is Black History, today!


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