Programs & Events
All programs are free & open to the public!
Student Activists: The Civil Rights Histories of Oregon's Universities and Colleges
Saturday, April 14, 2018
1pm – 3pm
Attendees will learn about what was happening during the Civil Rights Movement outside of Portland, specifically on college campuses and how those students and their allies shaped what higher education looks like for today's students.
Family Saturday: African Americans in Oregon
Saturday, May 19, 2018
12pm – 4pm
Oregon Historical Society
Families are invited to engage in the history of the Civil Rights Movement through hands-on, art-based activities.
Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!
Saturday, June 9, 2018
2pm – 4pm
Oregon Historical Society
Exhibit closing celebration featuring presentations by local community organizations.
About the Oregon Black Pioneers
The state’s premier Black heritage organization is dedicated to illuminating African Americans’ contributions to Oregon’s history through research, publications, exhibits, and community outreach. The organization's newest exhibition, Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years, directly builds on three highly successful collaborations with the Oregon Historical Society and reflects the all-volunteer organization's increasing capacity to create meaningful opportunities for community dialogue and learning.
Members Opening Reception
Opening remarks from OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, newly-appointed Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson, Oregon Black Pioneers President Willie Richardson, and others.
By Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian/OregonLive, January 22, 2018
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said Monday that she deliberately chose the Oregon Historical Society and its "Racing for Change, Oregon's Civil Rights Years'' exhibit as the setting for her swearing-in ceremony to "address the elephant in the room.''
She described an era of early policing in the nation's history when sheriffs enforced segregation in the South and officers received political payoffs to turn a blind eye to a politician's illegal prostitution or drinking.
"Here in Portland, the issue of racial inequality and displacement still lurks in the undercurrent of a very progressive city,'' Outlaw said moments after she was formally sworn in as the city's first African American female chief. The ceremony comes after Outlaw has been in the job for three and a half months.
"We cannot effectively address crime reduction and community engagement and inclusion or organizational excellence through an equity and inclusion lens if we ignore our history.''
By Jennifer Anderson, Portland Tribune, January 16, 2018
If you take one thing away from "Racing to Change," it's that history definitely repeats itself. The newest interactive exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society — focusing on Oregon's black pioneers during the civil rights era — is a powerful, educational and inspiring window into a world that might have technically passed but is still ever-present in today's Black Lives Matter movement and other race-related struggles. "There was lot of residual from Oregon's racial history — employment, public accommodation, housing issues" and other racist policies that have persisted, says Gwen Carr, board secretary of the Oregon Black Pioneers, the Salem-based nonprofit presenting the event.
By Joe Vithayathil, KPTV - FOX 12, January 15, 2018
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr Day, when Americans remember the civil rights leader and the fight for equality, and a new exhibit examines the civil rights movement here in Oregon. In history class, when students hear about the civil rights movement, they hear about far off places like Selma and Montgomery yet next to nothing about Portland, or Oregon in general. The work of Dr. King and so many others in the movement did, in fact, have a place and a purpose right here in the northwest, though. A new exhibit from the Oregon Historical Society titled “Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years” documents the civil rights movement in the state during the 1960s and 1970s.
By KXL-Morning News, January 15th 2018
New exhibit on civil rights opens today at the Oregon Historical Society. Pat talked about it with Executive Director, Kerry Tymchuk.
By KGW-TV, January 15, 2018
by Genevieve Reaume, KATU News, January 15th 2018
To celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday, the Oregon Historical Society opened its doors for free to all visitors. Hundreds of people will get to see the historical society's new exhibit, "Racing for Change," which focuses on the civil rights movement in Oregon. Inside, attendees get to see iconic quotes from prominent figures in the movement, along with a book signed by Martin Luther King, Jr. "This tells the story of how community leaders here in Portland and across Oregon finally began to demand equal rights and civil rights," Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of OHS said. "It's a timely exhibit."
By Samantha Bakall, The Oregonian | OregonLive, January 11, 2018
Though the Oregon Historical Society's newest exhibit focuses on Oregon's civil rights experience decades ago, many of the central themes still feel relevant to today. Presented in partnership with the Oregon Black Pioneers, "Racing to Change: Oregon's Civil Rights Years," is the fourth exhibit in a chronological series from the African American heritage organization and the museum. The series, which began in 2011, has been cataloging African American life in Oregon from the 1700s toward present day. On display until June 24, the new exhibit details the social upheaval and conflicts black Oregonians faced during the 1960s and 1970s, and the progress, experimentation and joy the black community experienced as they played an essential role in building the state's social, cultural and economic base.
By Melanie Sevcenko, The Skanner News, NOVEMBER 22, 2017
At the start of a new year, the Oregon Black Pioneers will invite Oregonians to join them in what they do best – looking to their shared past. The historians’ newest and largest exhibit to date, “Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years,” will open on Jan. 15 at the Oregon Historical Society and will offer visitors an opportunity to experience the struggles and achievements of the 1960s and 70s in their home state. For the past two years, the all-volunteer non-profit organization based in Salem has been collecting stories and overturning artifacts to compile an image of conflict, courage and change at a volatile time in history.