Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Current State of Affairs: Equity in Oregon

This section provides links to reports illuminating our region's current state of affairs, specifically highlighting the systemic inequities which exist here. Many of these inequities stem from historically rooted practices. Understanding why disparities in various sectors, including education, housing and health care exist in our region, and how these are manifested, can help us create a more just community. This section of the blog connects our region's history with how various communities are faring, and helps map where and how we need to move toward a more equitable tomorrow.

"Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile" is the first of a series of reports developed in 2010 by the Coalition of Communities of Color in partnership with Portland State University. The report documents the experiences of communities of color in Multnomah County. Some highlights: 26.3% of Multnomah county are people of color. Communities of color in Multnomah county suffer more than similar communities of color nationally. They earn half the incomes of whites and have unemployment rates that are 35.7% higher than whites. Poverty levels among Multnomah county's communities are at levels at least double those of whites. 1 in 3 children of color are living in poverty.

The African American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, published in January 2014, focuses on the African-American community in Multnomah County, Oregon, a community that "has faced continued upheaval and devastation since our migration here due to the ongoing discriminatory systems of development and decision making by city government and other main stream jurisdictions." The goal of the report, which represents "the generational experiences of African-American community members" is to "foster action and accountability in local government to develop pro-active policy and programmatic solutions that will eliminate the disparities identified."

"The Native American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile", published in 2011, is the most widespread study of Multnomah County's urban Indian community. It is the result of three years of work of true partnership between the Native American community, the Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University. Some highlights from the study: Poverty rates in the Native American community are triple those in White communities. More than 20% of Native Americans experience hunger on a regular basis. Native Americans are the victims of violent crimes at rates 250% higher than Whites.

The African Refugee and Immigrant Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile This 2013 report serves to make visible our diverse African communities in Multnomah County.

The Latino Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile report, published in 2012, uncovers an array of racial inequities across the systems of income, employment, education, juvenile justice, corrections, child welfare, wealth, health, health insurance coverage, and racial harassment among others. Select highlights: At 11% of the total county population, Latinos comprise the largest community of color. Latino purchasing power in Portland is nearly $4 billion and growing. However, Latino individual poverty levels are 77% higher than Whites while family poverty levels are 152% higher. Nationally, Latinos hold only 5 1/2 cents for every dollar of assets held by Whites.

The Asian and Pacific Islander Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, completed in 2012 and three years in the making, is the most comprehensive study of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in Multnomah county to date. It documents the experiences of over 20 API ethnic groups, who are both largely diverse in language and culture, while at the same time profoundly linked by the impact of racism which does not "exist by intention. It is instead measured by its outcomes and its impact." The study found that the API community fares worse than Whites. This is true of incomes, poverty rates, educational attainment, most educational achievement gaps, occupations, health care, some health outcomes such as low birth weight births, housing, political representation, hiring in the civil service, youth being held in detention and short term stays in child welfare.

State of Black Oregon 2009 This report, produced by the Urban League of Portland, is the comprehensive assessment of the local African American community in 17 years. It examines indicators in the areas of education, economic development, housing, health and criminal justice among others, and calls on policy-makers and other individuals to take specific measures to eliminate racial disparities

Misguided Measures: The Outcomes and Impacts of Measure 11 on Oregon's Youth. A 2008 report by The Campaign for Youth Justice and Partnership for Safety and Justice, which reexamines policies related to trying youth as adults, specifically Measure 11.

Putting Women's Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level This report from 2009 provides information about how women fare at the state level by assessing the status of women in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For each state, the magnitude of the racial and ethnic differences between White women and women of color was analyzed for 25 indicators of health and well-being grouped in three dimensions—health status, access and utilization, and social determinants. The report also examines key health care payment and workforce issues that help to shape access at the state level.

Exclusionary Discipline in Multnomah County Schools: How suspensions and expulsions impact students of color This report of the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community, published in 2012, "asserts that we must agree that exclusionary discipline is a primary factor leading to academic disconnection and ultimately failure; therefore reducing or providing alternatives to exclusionary discipline should be prioritized for all students and especially stu- dents of color." It shows how many young people locally are being impacted by exclusionary discipline practices and policies, and how we can reduce the number of students excluded from school and increase the number of students who graduate from high school and move into higher education and gainful employment.

Facing Race: 2011 LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD ON RACIAL EQUITY examines 23 pieces Of legislation introduced in the 2011 regular session that would have the most direct impacts — positive or negative — on all Oregonians, particularly communities of color. This report addresses racial equity related to five major areas: civil rights and criminal justice, education, economic justice, health, and immigrant and refugee issues. A final category, institutional racism, examines legislation that reinforces or increases racial disparities in opportunities and outcomes.

ANALYSIS: TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOP DATA STILL SHOW BIAS AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR In mid-May, 2012, the Portland Police Bureau released the traffic and pedestrian stop data for Portland in the year 2010. Despite the "Plan to Address Racial Profiling" being adopted by City Council in September, 2009, and pledges to improve the "hit rate"-- that is, if people are stopped and searched, the searches should turn up contraband at the same rates regardless of the ethnicity of the drivers-- the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform and Portland Copwatch have found that the numbers have not improved, and may be getting worse. Specifically, the percentage of African Americans and Latinos who are searched after being stopped continues to be over twice as high as the percentage of whites who are searched, even though the percentage of African Americans and Latinos found to have illegal drugs, weapons, alcohol, or other contraband is about 7/10 as high as the percentage of whites found with the same kinds of items.

City of Portland 2009 Disparity Study Final Report This study evaluated the effectiveness of race and gender-neutral practices in public construction and construction-related professional services contracting as well as relevant City policies and practices.

Locked Out: The Failure of Portland-area Fair Housing Journalist Brad Schmidt spent months analyzing data and interviewing experts for this series on the failure of local governments and agencies to fulfill a fundamental goal of the nation's 44-year-old Fair Housing Act: to give everyone, regardless of color, a fair shot at living in a decent neighborhood. Schmidt's investigation found that taxpayer money meant to help break down segregation and poverty is instead reinforcing it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pacific NW History: general

The Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, founded in 1990 within the University of Washington's Department of History, is dedicated to supporting research, teaching, and public programs that promote knowledge on the peoples and issues that have shaped on the Pacific Northwest and North American West.

Center for Columbia River History The mission of the Center for Columbia River History is to promote the study of Columbia River Basin history, a region that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province (British Columbia).

Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive The 1,200-mile long Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project spotlights a variety of people who have migrated to this part of the Pacific Northwest over the past two hundred years, including African Americans, Chinese, German, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican Americans and others.

The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Online The site features the full text — almost five thousand pages — of the journals. Also included are a gallery of images, important supplemental texts, and video and audio files of selected passages plus Native American perspectives.

Northwest Homesteader This curriculum packet, developed by the Olympic Peninsula Community Museum in partnership with the University Libraries, Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest, and the Department of History at the University of Washington, provides materials that relate to the history of homesteading in Washington state. In many respects homesteading was a national story, born of an era when the United States was both agrarian and expansionist. The major themes of this packet invite teachers and students to think about how regional, state, and local history fit within the broader American context.

Image credit: University of Washington - Native Americans fishing at Celilo Falls, Oregon, ca 1910

Native American history in the NW

The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Tribal Legacy Project The mission of this digital archive is to assist educators nationwide to integrate Native American culture and history from the tribes' perspectives into the study of the Lewis and Clark expedition and legacy. This site includes hundreds of taped presentations and interviews with tribal elders and educators.

Plateau Peoples' Web Portal This portal is a gateway to the cultural materials of Plateau peoples that are held in Washington State University's Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC), the Museum of Anthropology and by national donors. The collections represented here have been chosen and curated by tribal consultants working in cooperation with University and Museum staff. The tribes represented here include the Coeur d'Alene, Colville, Spokane, Umatilla, and Yakama.

University of Washington Libraries' Digital Collection - Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction A digital collection of some 2,300 photographs and 7,700 pages of text pages relating to the American Indians in two cultural areas of the Pacific Northwest, the Northwest Coast and Plateau. These resources illustrate many aspects of life and work, including housing, clothing, crafts, transportation, education, and employment.

Wisdom of the Elders An organization committed to “Native American cultural sustainability, multimedia education and race reconciliation." Wisdom records, preserves and shares oral history, cultural arts, and traditional ecological knowledge of exemplary indigenous elders, storytellers, and scientists in collaboration with diverse cultural organizations and educational institutions. Wisdom has developed a curriculum for Oregon’s schools, including social studies, language arts, environmental science and arts (storytelling, traditional arts and music) lesson plans, aligned to Oregon’s Educational Standards. It honors tribes of the Northwest and is available at no charge online. Wisdom has also produced a series of radio shows which includes oral history and cultural arts of thirteen nations along the western side, and thirteen nations along the eastern side of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

List of Oregon's Tribes with links to their websites containing the tribes' histories and current information.

List of Washington Tribes with links to their websites containing the tribal nations' histories and current information.

List of Idaho Tribes with links to their websites containing histories and current information.

List of British Columbia's First Nations Contact information for the First Nations and Bands of British Columbia. Because of the diversity of the Pacific coast - mild to cold climate, seashore to mountains - the First Nations who settled in this area developed many different cultures and languages. The coastal inhabitants were experts at wood sculpture, as their totem poles attest even today. They were also famous for their skill and courage in whaling. As for their social system, it was marked by occasions such as the "potlatch" - a ceremony in which important gifts were given to guests - and by theatrical displays. British Columbia joined the Confederation in 1871. The Aboriginal population of British Columbia, which began to decline with the arrival of the first European settlers, is enjoying new strength. The population is growing in numbers (more than 139 000 people in 1996) and has developed strong Aboriginal organizations. This new energy coincides with a renaissance in Aboriginal cultural and artistic expression.

Image credit: Plateau Peoples' Web Portal - Vera Spokane and Susi Kop-Lops, ca 1900

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Asian American History in the NW

Chinese Americans in the Columbia River Basin - Historical Overview The 1,200-mile long Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project spotlights a variety of people who have migrated to this part of the Pacific Northwest over the past two hundred years.

Crossing East - Asian American History series Peabody award-winning series of eight news-friendly one-hour documentaries on the many waves of Asian immigration. Hosted by George Takei and Margaret Cho. It tells the stories of Asian involvement in American history through interviews, archives, scholar commentary, and reenactments. Crossing East is the first comprehensive radio series on Asian American history. Excerpt: "Think of the first Asians in America, and images of railroad builders, gold miners and laundry workers come to mind. But Asians came East from Asia to explore the new continent long before there was an America. Sailors and adventurers from China, Japan, the Philippines and Hawaii boarded ships heading East in the 16th century. Some scholars speculate even earlier. Depending on how far you want to go, it's safe to say that Asians have a long history of crossing East to America."

No Place for Your Kind is a narrative photography project that documents contemporary locations where anti-Chinese violence took place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America and combines the images with stories about the events that happened at those sites.

Japanese Americans in the Columbia River Basin - Historical Overview Excerpt: "Japanese immigrants first came to the Pacific Northwest in the 1880s, when federal legislation that excluded further Chinese immigration created demands for new immigrant labor. Thousands of Japanese workers helped construct the railroads. Japanese in larger cities like Portland provided rooming houses, restaurants, stores, social contacts, and employment services that helped new immigrants get established in the region. As new irrigation projects expanded sugar beet production in the West during the early 1900s, employers such as the Utah and Idaho Company actively recruited the Issei to work farms. Soon Japanese immigrants spread throughout the Northwest to provide farm labor, hoping to eventually own their own farms."

Japanese American Activist Timeline from the website of the “Legacy of Japanese American Activism," an intergenerational conference of Nikkei activists to discuss critical community issues and to take action around these issues. The conference was held in November, 2011 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The site includes interviews with prominent Japanese American activists.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066 gave "the army the power, without warrants or indictments or hearings, to arrest every Japanese-American on the West Coast-110,000 men, women, and children-to take them from their homes, transport them to camps far into the interior, and keep them there under prison conditions. Three-fourths of these were Nisei-children horn in the United States of Japanese parents and therefore American citizens. The other fourth-the Issei, born in Japan-were barred by law from becoming citizens. In 1944 the Supreme Court upheld the forced evacuation on the grounds of military necessity. The Japanese remained in those camps for" up to 4 years -Howard Zinn. Read his critical analysis of the conception that World War II was really a "people's war" against fascism, as opposed to yet another inter-imperialist conflict with nothing to offer working people.

Children of the Camps: Internment History This site provides information about Japanese American children incarcerated for up to 4 years in remote camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and president-issued Executive Order 9066, which permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense. The order set into motion the evacuation and mass incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, most of whom were U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident aliens, half of whom were children.


Oregon Historical Society's Asian Pacific American History in Oregon As the steward of Oregon’s history, the Oregon Historical Society educates, informs, and engages the public through collecting, preserving, and interpreting the past . . . in other words, Oregon history matters.

Oregon Blue Book's overview of Oregon Chinese-American history The Oregon Blue Book is the state's official directory and fact book. It contains listings and functional descriptions of government agencies and educational institutions. It also features an almanac, maps, facts about Oregon history and elections, as well as information on the arts, media, and other cultural institutions in Oregon.

Chinese American Woman Suffrage in 1912 Portland In 1870 Oregon suffragists began the arduous fight for the vote; in 1912 Oregon woman achieved suffrage, and in 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment was passed, which allowed most U.S. women to vote and hold office. There were similar woman suffrage movements occurring all over the world in places such as New Zealand, England, and China. While all were equally important, the movement in China was of specific interest for Chinese American and American woman suffrage groups in Portland, Oregon. In Portland, transnational groups were established by members of the community such as Mrs. S. K. Chan, who was not only a physician, but also the president of a local equal suffrage society for Chinese women in Oregon. While much of their work is currently unknown, it is clear that Oregon suffragists were affiliated with Chinese American women’s groups located in the Portland area.

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Oregon Experience: Kam Wah Chung In the late 1800s, thousands of Chinese miners came to Eastern Oregon in search of gold. Among them were two men - Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On - who opened a store and herbal apothecary called Kam Wah Chung in John Day, Oregon. Though originally catering to their fellow Chinese, over time these two men attended to the medical needs of many, becoming highly regarded members of the community. The apothecary is now houses a museum, the Kam Wah Chung Museum and State Heritage Site.

The Oregon History Project: Portland's Chinese Community The Oregon History Project is an online resource for learning about Oregon's past. In these pages, historians and writers can help you explore the history of Oregon through the perspectives of the people who helped shape Oregon.

Oregon History Project - 1870-1920: Importing Asian Labor

Oregon History Project: Changes in Portland's Chinese and Japanese Immigration (1900-1920)

Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center is Japanese American history museum in Portland, charged with the preservation and sharing of the history and culture of the Japanese American community. The term "Nikkei" means Japanese emigrants and their descendants. The website includes several online exhibits.

Image credit: Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Project Archive


Asian Americans and Seattle's civil rights history This page is a gateway to the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project resources for exploring the civil rights activism of Asian Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Included are activist oral histories, research reports, newspaper reports, photographic collections, maps, historical documents.

Washington State Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs: Snapshot of Asian Pacific Americans in Washington State In Washington State, there are over 674,573 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). It is expected that in twenty years, the community will make up 10 percent of the total state population and there will be 33.4 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our nation by 2050. Over 47 distinct Asian and Pacific Islander communities exist representing various cultures and immigration patterns. Today Washington State ranks in the top ten states with the most Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, claiming 5th place. Nearly 88 percent of the population lives in the greater Puget Sound area. The site includes a timeline of Asian Pacific American History in Washington State.

A History Bursting With Telling: Asian Americans in Washington State Developed by the Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest whose mission is to promote and disseminate knowledge on the peoples and issues that have defined and shaped the Pacific Northwest.

HistoryLink, the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History: First Japanese known to reach Washington state arrive in January 1834

Japanese American family, studio portrait, ca. 1909 - Image credit: University of Washington

Friday, June 8, 2012

Latino History in the Pacific Northwest

Chicano/a Movement in Washington State History Project The Chicano/a Movement made an important impact on Washington state. Hispanic Americans had migrated through the Pacific Northwest since before statehood. Following an influx of “bracero” farm workers in Eastern Washington during World War II, their numbers grew steadily and had become significant in Washington State by the 1960s. The movement in Washington emerged in two locales: in the Yakima Valley, which was home to most of the state's Latinos, and in Seattle and especially the University of Washington, where Chicano students launched many new initiatives. Reflecting the split geography, the movement linked together campaigns to organize and support farmworkers with projects that served urban communities and educational agendas.

Historical Overview: Mexican Americans in the Columbia Basin The 1,200-mile long Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project spotlights a variety of people who have migrated to this part of the Pacific Northwest over the past two hundred years, including African Americans, Chinese, German, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican Americans and others.

Oregon Public Broadcasting's Oregon Experience: The Braceros This site includes essays, photographs, and a video documentary about the international agreement between the United States and Mexico, an arrangement for American farms and railroads to contract with temporary Mexican workers. Officially named the Emergency Farm Labor Supply Program, it ultimately came to be known as the Bracero program.

“Latino Roots: in Lane County, Oregon/ Raices Latinas: del Condada de Lane, Oregon” is an online 33-page bilingual booklet that details the Latino presence in what is now the state of Oregon.

150 Years of Latino Contributions in OregonRemarks by Commissioner Marcela Mendoza detailing the accomplishments of r Latinos who settled in Oregon.

HistoryLink: Mexican American Women in Washington Mexicans first moved to Washington Territory in the 1860s, one family raising sheep in the Yakima valley and another operating a mule pack train. In the twentieth century, particularly after the start of World War II, Mexican migrants from the Southwest and immigrants from Mexico, including women, made up a large part of the labor force that brought in Yakima County's harvests. In the last half of the twentieth century, Mexican American women assumed prominent roles in communities and in politics. They have been an important part of the nearly 756,000 Latinos who now live in the state as of the 2010 census.

State of Washington Office of Superintendent's Center for the Improvement of Student Learning: History of Latinos in the Northwest CISL provides information to educators, parents and community leaders to assist them with navigating public education in our state. This brochure provides an overview of the history and movement of Latinos into the Pacific Northwest and specifically Washington. This history is intertwined with the Spanish explorations of the sixteenth century, continuing through the colonial period, followed by the migration of Mexicans in the nineteenth century and the settling out patterns of a larger Latino community in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Salem (Oregon) Online History: Latinos In Salem The Salem Public Library sponsored the creation of the Salem History Project. The Salem History Project takes an encyclopedia approach to providing access to Salem's history of culture, events, institutions and people which has led this community into the 21st Century.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Black History in the NW

African American History in the American West This site, created by Professor Quintard Taylor at the University of Washington, is a gateway to the vast and growing array of information on the lives and histories of the millions of African Americans who have and continue to make the West their home.

African Americans in the Columbia River Basin - Historical Overview The 1,200-mile long Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project spotlights a variety of people who have migrated to this part of the Pacific over the past two hundred years.


The Oregonian: African immigrants help shape Portland's small black community Excerpt from this article published in January, 2009: "Recent census estimates show Portland's population of U.S.-born African Americans has declined slightly since 2000. But its African-born population increased nearly 90 percent from 2000 to 2007 and now makes up about 12 percent of the black population. . . African immigrants first trickled into Oregon in the 1970s, mainly as students from West African countries. In the 1980s, resettlement agencies began to relocate refugees from war-torn nations such as Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the Portland area, and those numbers accelerated in the 1990s and this decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with refugees coming from Somalia, Liberia, Chad and Togo. Portland is 12th in the nation for refugee resettlement, according to a 2007 report by the Brookings Institution, bringing in 34,000 refugees from across the globe between 1984 and 2003. But it's also one of the whitest cities in the country."

The African Refugee and Immigrant Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile This 2013 report serves to make visible our diverse African communities in Multnomah County.

Golden West Hotel in Portland This exhibit celebrates the rich history of the Golden West, the former center of Portland's African-American social and business life in the first decades of the twentieth century. The website features period photographs and oral history recordings.

Local Color This documentary chronicles the little known history of racism in Oregon and the moving story of people, both black and white, who worked for civil rights.

A Brief History of African Americans in Portland An article from The Skanner newspaper about how Black pioneers, founders and civil rights activists settled a 'whites-only' state.

KBOO Community Radio program: Walidah Imarisha on the history of Blacks in Oregon and race relations in the United States. Walidah is a historian, a reporter, a poet, a spoken word artist, a documentary film maker, a writer and a community organizer. She teaches for the Black Studies department at Portland State University and in the Women’s Studies Department at Oregon State University. She speaks here about "the peculiar history of African Americans in Oregon and Portland and openly talk about the 'isms' that continue to impact our society."

Oregon Black History Timeline A slide show with audio commentary by author and educator Walidah Imarisha giving an overview of Black history in Oregon.

Oregon African American Museum The mission of Oregon African American Museum, located in Salem, is to educate the public about African American history in Oregon by collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting material evidence of the African American experience.

Oregon Historical Society: African American History in Oregon This Focus page examines issues, historical moments, and people important to African American’s History in Oregon.

Oregon Northwest Black Pioneer History Organization The Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers is an all volunteer nonprofit organization based in Salem, Oregon. It was founded in 1993 and incorporated in 1994 to do research and educate Oregonians about African-Americans’ contributions to Oregon’s history.

Salem (Oregon) Online History: African Americans in Salem The website was created by the Salem Public Library.

Vanport City, Oregon portal Includes videos and images of Vanport, once the second-largest city in Oregon, constructed in 1943 to house the workers at the wartime Kaiser Shipyards in Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Vanport was destroyed by a flood in 1948.


African Americans and Seattle's civil rights history This page is a gateway to the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project resources for exploring the civil rights activism of African Americans in the Pacific Northwest. Included are a short film, activist oral histories, research reports, newspaper reports, photographic collections, maps, historical documents.

Seattle Black Panther Party History and Memory Project The Black Panther Party for Self Defense established its Seattle chapter in the spring of 1968. It was one of the first to be created outside of California. The Seattle chapter also lasted longer than most, surviving until 1978. Although the membership was never large, the organization made a major impact on the region. This page introduces the Seattle Black Panther Party -- History and Memory Project. The unit comprises the most extensive online collection of materials for any chapter of the Black Panther Party, including the Oakland chapter.

Image credit: Central City Concern's Golden West Building site

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

LGBTQ History

The Oregon Encyclopedia: Gay and lesbian rights movement Gays first began organizing in Portland in early March 1970. They advertised their cause in the pages of The Willamette Bridge, a counter-culture newspaper that began in 1968 and carried news about Vietnam, the Black Panthers, Students for a Democratic Society, rock concerts, alternative lifestyles, and the environment. Although the social element was important to these early activists, they immediately identified politics as central to their purpose. They outlined a plan to speak in college classes and to church and civil groups, to provide radio and television interviews, to write articles for the press, and to lobby for the abolition of legislation that oppressed gays.

Pacific Northwest Lesbian Archives The Pacific Northwest Lesbian Archives (PNLA) gathers, preserves and shares primary source materials documenting lesbian life in the Pacific Northwest – mostly Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and southwestern British Columbia lesbians. Its mission is "to enhance public and scholarly understanding of our diverse, regional herstory; bringing our herstory out of obscurity to promote learning, visibility and community strength." The archives are housed at the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) in Tacoma, Washington.

Portland's Gay History Timeline Based on David Kohl's 430 page Gay Portland History Book

Northwest Lesbian and Gay History Museum Project Founded in 1994, this organization researches, interprets and communicates the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Pacific Northwest for the purposes of study, education and enjoyment. The website includes excerpts of oral history collected through the project, as well as guidelines for conducting oral history interviews.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jewish Americans in the Pacific NW

Jewish Americans in the Columbia River Basin - Historical Overview The 1,200-mile long Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin that includes territory in seven states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah) and one Canadian province. The Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project spotlights a variety of people who have migrated to this part of the Pacific Northwest over the past two hundred years.

Oregon Public Broadcasting: A Timeline of Jewish history in Oregon, 1850–1950 Excerpt: "In 1849, Jacob Goldsmith and Lewis May are the first Jewish settlers in Portland. (They were) Bavarian-born Jews who. . . operated a general merchandise story on Front Ave. . . The California Gold Rush spurred much of the Jewish movement from the East Coast, Midwest and California to Oregon. Jewish merchants moved west to profit from storekeeping in mining towns. When one gold camp or town dried up, Jews moved on to the next, and so made their way to Oregon. . . In the 1880s Eastern European Jews immigrate to Oregon. A rift between already-established German Jews of Portland, and more Orthodox Eastern European Jews changes the Jewish community."

Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon: Oregon Jewish History The site provides brief history of Portland's Jewish centers and organizations as well as a bit of oral history.

Oregon Jewish Museum The Oregon Jewish Museum houses the largest collection of the history of the Jewish experience in Oregon. It includes archival documents, photographs, sound and video recordings, books, and artifacts. The collection illustrates the history of individuals, families, and organizations that encompass the Jewish community of Oregon from its earliest history in 1850 to the present. A small sampling of photos of artifacts available on the website.

HistoryLink: Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History Enter key word "Jewish" into Advanced Search.

Washington State Jewish Society's mission is to "promote interest in and knowledge of the life, history, and culture of the Jewish people both of the State of Washington and of other parts of the world." The site includes a Washington state Jewish history timeline and links to the Jewish Archives which "document the fascinating history of Jews and Jewish communities in Washington State, beginning with the first settlers in 1853. The early pioneers were German-speaking Jews from Central Europe who were followed in the 1880s by a second wave of immigrants, Ashkenazic Jews from Eastern Europe. Starting in 1902, yet a third wave of immigrants to the area, Sephardic Jews from Turkey, Greece and the Isle of Rhodes brought with them their own distinct culture and language. Since World War I Seattle has had the largest percentage of Sephardim compared to the total Jewish population of any U.S. city."

Jewish children at Sunday School, February 1898 - Image credit: Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Slavic Community in the Pacific NW

Oregon Humanities: The history and future of Slavic refugees in Oregon Excerpt: "More than one hundred thousand people from the former Soviet Union now call the Willamette Valley home. . . About 40 percent of the more than one hundred thousand Slavic people who live in the region are from Ukraine. Others were born in Russia, Belarus, or other republics that formerly made up the Soviet Union. While the vast majority of these immigrants live in the Portland-metro area, about three thousand currently reside in Salem, with significant numbers also living in Woodburn and smaller towns such as Lebanon and Albany."

Slavic Community in Oregon: a historic overview from the 2010 report, "Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile:" The Slavic community is defined as people from the former Soviet Union, mostly who fled religious and political persecution and came to Oregon in several waves. The first is at the turn of the 20th century, when members of the Russian Orthodox faith moved to the area. Resurgence occurred at the close of the Russian Revolution in 1922. The third and most significant wave occurred as the Soviet Union began to unravel. In 1988, then President Mikhail Gorbachev allowed some religious minorities to leave the country. Numbers grew when in 1989, the USA eased immigration laws to permit Soviet immigrants. With the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Slavic community arrived in large numbers. Migration into Oregon and California was primarily evangelical groups, bringing histories of religious persecution and deep connections to fundamentalist churches. Helped with sponsorships by Christian church congregations, and recognition by the US government that their experiences were sufficient to warrant status as refugees (due to persecution for their religious beliefs), Slavic numbers grew to where they now are the largest refugee group in Oregon. The strength of the evangelical lobby in the USA has secured their ongoing status as refugees despite the end to religious persecution that coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Old Believers: A documentary about the Russian Old Believer community of Marion County, Oregon The Old Believers living in and around Woodburn, Oregon are descendants of Russian Christians who chose to retain the old rituals when reforms were introduced in the Russian Orthodox Church in the 1660’s. They were excommunicated and suffered persecution from political administrators and official church leaders. Many of the dissenters fled Russia. Largely because of this history, the Oregon Old Believers have retained a strong sense of cultural and religious identity. A teacher's guide to the film can be found here.

Photo credit: Helen's blog

Women's History of the Pacific NW

Century of Action: Oregon Women Vote, 1912–2012 is a project of the Oregon Women’s History Consortium (OWHC), a new organization formed to lead the centennial celebration of woman suffrage and to promote women’s history beyond 2012.

Oregon Encyclopedia: Women

Washington Women's History Consortium The Women's History Consortium, created by state statute (RCW 27.34.360) in 2005 as a Washington State Historical Society-led initiative, is dedicated to preserving and making available resources about Washington women’s history. Located at the State Capital Museum and Outreach Center in Olympia, the Consortium promotes the preservation of materials related to women’s history and improvement of access to women’s history statewide. Many materials available online.

Oral Histories of Washington's influential men and women Since 2008, the Legacy Project has documented life stories of Washington's influential men and women. They are statewide officeholders, congressional leaders, judges and remarkable citizens.

Photo credit: Suffrage Wagon News Channel- Oregon suffragists visit New York, 1912, from the Library of Congress collection

Friday, May 4, 2012

Labor History in the Pacific NW

Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects Eleven projects largely focusing on Washington State that bring together nearly one hundred video oral history interviews and several thousand photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. Included are films, slide shows, and lesson plans for teachers. The projects also feature dozens of historical essays about important issues, events, and people, many written by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Washington. The projects include: The Labor Press Project, a site which brings together information about the history and ongoing influence of newspapers and periodicals published by unions, labor councils, and radical organizations in the Pacific Northwest (includes Oregon).

University of Oregon’s “The Labor Project” The Labor Project in the Department of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Oregon acts as a portal for researchers to access the documentary history of labor in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Collections of documents, photographs, personnel papers, and ephemera provide a window on the lives of workers as well as the politics of labor in the region.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Links to Self-Guided Walking Tours in the Pacific NW

City of Olympia Women’s History Walking Tour marks important women's history sites in Olympia, Washington.

Self-Guided Walking Tours of Seattle's Historic Districts Virtual walking tours of five Seattle neighborhoods offered by HistoryLink.org

Portland's Walk of the Heroines This innovative, educational park (and website) gives artistic recognition to women's vital contributions. Whether as teacher, scientist, business or political leader, artist, or athlete, or in the more private roles of mother, sister, friend, or volunteer, women shape our lives, our culture, and our society. The park includes an Educational Kiosk displaying heroine stories, gardens, artistic paving, sculptures, a fountain, a stage, naming walls and quotes by the women.

Japanese American Historical Plaza (Portland)Using thirteen engraved stones of basalt and granite, the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland tells an important story of the Japanese in Oregon.

Historic Old Town Walking Tour Map The cultural landscape of Old Town has been shaped over the past 150 years by African American, Chinese, Filipino, Greek, Japanese, Jewish, Native American, Roma and Scandinavian workers and their families. Through the collaboration of the various organizations of the Arts, Culture and History Committee of the Old Town Chinatown Neighbor- hood Association, the district’s past and present are now linked by the stories in these 20 bronze plaques. The bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalks will guide you. . . Experience the cultural diversity of Old Town through the voices of the people who lived and worked here.

Proposed AFRICAN-AMERICAN Historic District within Portland's Old Town This walk includes a permanent exterior historical exhibit installed on Central City Concern’s Golden West Hotel Building. The six display panels (and a soundtrack) tell the "social and ethnic story of the vibrant African-American community in Portland in the early 1900s and the successes and challenges of its residents."