Oregon Historical Society Statement on Racial Justice and Equality

In December of 2019, the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) was very proud to publish a special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ), which was entirely devoted to the history of “White Supremacy & Resistance” in Oregon. The issue was guest edited by scholars Dr. Darrell Millner and Dr. Carmen Thompson.

We said at that time that OHS and the OHQ are “not neutral on the subject of White supremacy. [We] believe that organizations, leaders, and public policies that advance and institutionalize the idea that people categorized as White are superior to other people are harmful, and always have been.” Since its publication, this special issue has sparked conversations around the state about how white supremacy has been woven into many of our state’s policies and social norms, as well as the many diverse people who have resisted that institutionalization.

Such conversations were important then, and they are even more important today, in light of the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and many other Black men and women throughout our nation's history.

The resulting protests and marches that have occurred here in Oregon and across the country are a testament to the reality that it is long past time to root out and remove every last vestige of racial discrimination and inequality in our society. 

In these turbulent and hopeful times, the Oregon Historical Society recommits itself to being a valuable resource by documenting, preserving, and sharing our state’s history, from all perspectives, and in all its complexities. We hope that everyone will continue to help guide us in providing knowledge of the past and working to build a more just and equitable society in the future.

Let us remember and take inspiration from these words of the late Senator Mark Hatfield:

“All of us need each other. All of us must lift and pull others as we rise. All of us must rise together — powerful, free, one self-determined people.”

Kerry Tymchuk
Oregon Historical Society Executive Director

Mary Miller Faulkner
President, Oregon Historical Society Board of Trustees