Oregon Black History Series
Oregon Black History Series

The Oregon Historical Society is excited to present a year of public programs, exhibits, lectures, and events, focused on showcasing the rich history of Oregon’s black community.

Past Exhibits

All Aboard: Railroading and Portland’s Black Community

Exhibit presented by the Oregon Black Pioneers

January 15 – April 21, 2013


Freedom Fighters

February 14 – February 18, 2013


For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights

Exhibit presented by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

June 16 – August 11, 2013

Past Programs and Events

Community Free Day

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Special programs and activities supporting the All Aboard and Freedom Fighters exhibits.


History Pub with Gwen Carr, Hon. Avel Gordly, and Charlotte Rutherford

"All Aboard: Railroading and Portland's Black Community"

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School

Free Admission


All Aboard Panel Discussion

"What the Workers Have to Say: Stories You’ve Never Heard"

Presented by the Oregon Black Pioneers

Sunday, March 10, 2013, 3:30 PM

Free Admission


Oregon Humanities Conversation Project

"Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon?"

Saturday, March 23, 2013, 2 PM

At the Portland Art Museum

Free Admission


While Oregon has a long history of black exclusion and discrimination, it also has a vibrant history of black culture—a history that has often remained hidden. PSU professor Walidah Imarisha leads participants through an interactive timeline of the black experience in Oregon and will discuss how history, politics, and culture have shaped— and continue to shape —the landscape for black Oregonians. This program is presented by the Portland Art Museum, in conjunction with its exhibit of work by Carrie Mae Weams, and co-presented with Portland Center Stage in conjunction with their production of Clybourne Park. Conversation Projects are funded by the generous support of Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Oregon Cultural Trust.


Lecture by Isabel Wilkerson

Author of The Warmth of Other Suns

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 7 PM

At the First Congregational Church, Portland

Part of the Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum

Buy tickets online through

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Panel Discussion: "African American Women Reflect on Serving Together in the Oregon Senate"

Friday, April 19, 11 AM

Oregon State Capitol

In recognition of the 60th anniversary of the passage of Oregon's Public Accommodations Act, Oregon Historical Society hosted a panel discussion featuring three African American women who served in the Oregon State Legislature. Former Senators Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly and Senator Jackie Winters reflected on their experience serving our state in a special discussion moderated by Dr. Kim Williams of Portland State University.


Panel Discussion: "Coming to Oregon and Making Community Here"

Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 2 PM

Free Admission


Join historian Dr. Carmen Thompson and a panel of elders who will talk about their experience as part of the twentieth-century Great Migration out of the South. This program will offer a local component to Isabel Wilkerson’s April 16 Hatfield Lecture on the migration’s national history.


History Pub with Dr. Richard Etulain

Author of Lincoln and Oregon Country Politics in the Civil War Era

Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland

Free Admission


History Pub with R. Gregory Nokes

Author of Slaves Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, to be released by OSU Press in May 2013

July 29, 2013 at 7 PM

At McMenamins Kennedy School, Portland

Free Admission


March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Fiftieth Anniversary Programs

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

At the Oregon Historical Society

Free & open to the public

Sponsored by Oregon Humanities


Noon: Screening of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

Join OHS and community members for a viewing of Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, given at the March at approximately 3 PM ET. After the viewing, Emmett Wheatfall, one of Portland’s premier poets, will offer his thoughts on the significance and meaning of Dr. King’s speech. For more than 30 years, Mr. Wheatfall has given dramatic readings of this important American voice and historic civil rights message.


7 PM: Teach-In on the Voting Rights Act

The 1965 Voting Rights Act was one piece of monumental legislation pushed forward, in large part, by the 1963 March on Washington. A recent Supreme Court decision renders invalid a significant portion of the act. Dr. Carmen Thompson, professor of history at Portland Community College, will moderate a discussion with Melissa Aubin, Attorney Advisor, US District Court for the District of Oregon, and Dr. Rev. LeRoy Haynes, Senior Pastor at Allen Temple CME and a veteran of the movement. Local organizations have been invited to inform attendees about how they are responding to the Supreme Court decision. Doors open at 6 PM — tour Windows on America to view an official copy of the 13th Amendment. These programs were made possible in part by a grant from Oregon Humanities (OH), a statewide nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, which funds OH’s grant program.


Special thanks to the 2013 Oregon Black History Series Sponsors





Oregon Humanities

Ritz Family Foundation



Pacific Power Foundation 



Media Sponsors

Partner Events

The Oregon Historical Society encourages you to visit additional exhibits and programs related to our state's racial history and culture."


Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video

Exhibit at the Portland Art Museum


Race Talks: Opportunities for Dialogue

Monthly programs at the Kennedy School Gymnasium


Two plays at Portland Center Stage

The Whipping Man

Clybourne Park


Teddy Roosevelt’s Oregon Roadshow
Tom McCall
Oral Histories
Oregon History Project
Oregon Black History Series
Oregon History Day
Traveling Trunk Program
Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum