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Originally published February 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM

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Controversial leader returns to Langston Hughes center

Jacqueline Moscou has been returned to her job as artistic director of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, four months after she was...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Jacqueline Moscou has been returned to her job as artistic director of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, four months after she was abruptly removed and placed on paid administrative leave.

The Seattle Park and Recreation Department, which operates Langston Hughes, said Moscou will continue the work she did before she left the Central Area institution, including production of its fall play.

Parks department officials confirmed this morning that Moscou was reinstated in her previous position, effective Thursday, but did not immediately offer further comment.

Moscou was removed from Langston Hughes in October after the report of an independent consultant suggested she had made racially offensive and intimidating comments to and about her Asian-American colleagues, and that she used her ties to the Seattle mayor's office to get away with it.

Moscou and her attorneys had said that she was removed for upholding the center's mission. Moscou has insisted that mission has always been for and about black artists and black culture. The city said the center's mission is to serve all communities of color.

For years, relationships between Moscou and the rest of the Langston Hughes' staff was strained, with most staffers siding with the center's managing director and Moscou's boss, Manuel Cawaling.

Her removal from the center had prompted a public outcry from her many supporters, who saw it as a dilution of the center's African-American focus as the neighborhood around Langston Hughes becomes increasingly gentrified.

In January, the city named Vivian Phillips, a longtime veteran of the arts and supporter of Langston Hughes, as a manager to bring stability to the facility.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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