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May 22, 2017
History Pub: Portland's Black Belt
Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd

In 1960, Portland was the second-most segregated city on the West Coast, behind Los Angeles. Four of five Black residents lived in the Albina District. This presentation explores how the real estate industry, public officials, and citizens justified that spatial segregation. It traces the private- and public-sector mechanisms utilized to confine and re-shape Black settlement within Albina. A major motive for segregation was to enable financial exploitation of Black homeowners and renters, allowing housing-industry manipulators to extract wealth from the Black community.

Dr. Karen J. Gibson is an Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. Her scholarship seeks to answer questions about the political economy of racial economic inequality in the urban setting. Her publications have appeared in Cities, Feminist Economics, Transforming Anthropology, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

About History Pub: Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.

Jun 26, 2017
NOT CANCELLED: History Pub: The Rise of the KKK in Southern Oregon
Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd


In 1921, Luther Powell, a recruitment officer for the Ku Klux Klan, arrived in southern Oregon to recruit new members for the Klan. His visit marked the beginning of a short, but disturbing, period in Oregon’s history. Historian Jeff LaLande will speak about the Klan’s influence in southern Oregon during the 1920s, the 1923 Alien Property Act prohibiting immigrants from owning or leasing land, and more about this turbulent time.

Jeff LaLande, a retired U.S. Forest Service archaeologist, has lived in the Rogue Valley for over 45 years. He received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oregon in 1993. LaLande has taught at Southern Oregon University and is the author of a number of several books and numerous articles.

About History Pub: Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.

Jul 31, 2017
History Pub: Edith Green: Champion for Education and Equality
Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd

Much of what can be seen today in federal support of education, equal access for women to academic programs and faculties, and the current range of women’s athletics -- indeed the expanded role of women in the workplace -- began more than a half century ago with Oregon’s Edith Green. In her 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, she was the acknowledged leader on landmark education legislation, and before the advent of the Feminist Movement, she also was an early advocate for equal treatment of women in employment and education. Among many other laws, those two interests led to her role in creating what became known as Title IX, which prohibited discrimination against women by educational institutions receiving federal funds and led, among other important impacts, to a revolutionary expansion in women’s sports. This talk looks at the notable career and achievements of this pace-setting lawmaker in promoting the causes of education and women’s equality in the male-dominated Congress of her time.

This talk looks at the notable career and achievements of this pace-setting lawmaker in promoting the causes of education and women’s equality in the male-dominated Congress of her time.

Phil Cogswell retired in 1999 after a 32-year career at The Oregonian, including positions as reporter, op-ed page editor and deputy editorial page editor. He worked as a Congressional intern in the office of Rep. Edith Green in the summer of 1963 when she was securing passage of the Higher Education Facilities Act. As The Oregonian's Washington, D.C., correspondent (1972-74) he covered Rep. Green's last three years in Congress.

He has also written on Oregon history, including the Oregon Encyclopedia article on Edith Green and the book Capitol Names—Individuals Woven into Oregon History. He is the current president and long-time member of the Oregon Geographic Names Board, an affiliate of the Oregon Historical Society.

About History Pub

Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.

The Oregon Historical Society is a scholarly resource dedicated to putting the power of history into everyone's hands & advancing knowledge worldwide.

Aug 13, 2017
Beyond the Beach Bill: Statewide Debates over Public Beaches
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

The history of Oregon's public beaches is far more complex than the passage of a single law championed by environmental leaders Bob Straub and Tom McCall, with early successes followed by several years of conflict and threats. Two political insiders walk us through the dramatic debates that swept from the coast into Salem and across Oregon, as the state's leaders and citizens argued over roads, taxes, and property rights. Their presentations make clear that the free access to beaches that helps define Oregon today was anything but assured!

Floyd McKay was a political reporter for The Oregon Statesman and news analyst for KGW-TV during the years when Straub, McCall, and citizens across the state wrote what came to be known as the Oregon Story, a history McKay recounts in his book, Reporting the Oregon Story: How Activists and Visionaries Transformed a State. Janet McLennan’s multi-decade career in public service included advocating for open beaches in the 1960s. After serving as Executive Director of Beaches Forever, she finished law school and worked on natural resource law, management and policy in the state and Federal governments, including as Natural Resource Advisor to Governor Bob Straub.

Sep 23, 2017
Smithsonian Museum Day at the Oregon Historical Society
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

In the spirit of Smithsonian Museums who offer free admission every day, Smithsonian Magazine's Museum Day Live is an annual event hosted by Smithsonian magazine in which participating museums across the country open their doors to anyone presenting a Museum Day Ticket... for free!

Print or download your Museum Day Ticket and present it to the Oregon Historical Society to see current exhibits High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy, Use Well Your Time While in Your Prime: Samplers from the Oregon Historical Society Collection, Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew, and more!

Sep 27, 2017
Oregonians’ Efforts for Peace in the Middle East
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

This evening of dialogue will feature perspectives and memories shared by three Oregonians — a Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian — who for almost three decades have been struggling together from their common faith, to work, pray, and strive for peace in the Middle East. Rabbi Joshua Stampfer, Mr. Frank Afranji, and the Rev. Dr. Rodney Page first traveled to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza in 1988, during the first Intefada (uprising). They then founded the Oregon Inter-religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East. On New Year’s morning in 1990 they started Cavalcade for Peace in the Middle East just before the first Gulf war. The Cavalcade continued, on New Year’s morning, for many years. Join us for an evening of reflection on the ways they have worked together in Oregon to increase interfaith understanding and foster peace. Jan Elfers, new Executive Director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, will moderate the panel. Questions will be taken from the audience.

Sep 28, 2017
Vanport exhibit: A Story Lived. A Story Told
through Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Vanport. A Story Lived. A Story Told A Vanport Mosaic “Out of The Box” exhibit

A “miracle city.” A “sociological experiment.” A “municipal monstrosity.” A “nasty ghetto.” During its short life span (1942-1948) Vanport--Oregon’s second largest city and the nation’s largest public housing project--drew national attention and conflicting opinions. For the over 40,000 people who lived there, Vanport was simply their home.

When the Columbia River flooded on May 31 of 1948, Memorial Day, the entire city was erased from the map and from much of Portland’s memory in a single day.

Mixing archival photographs and historical records with personal testimonies of former residents, this pop-up exhibit presents the multifaceted story of Vanport and its vibrant community. It is a story of migration, housing, displacement, and perseverance.

Come explore the enduring impact of this chapter in Oregon’s history.

ADMISSION: Members FREE Multnomah Co. Residents (with proof of residency) FREE Proof of Multnomah County residency can include a State Issued Identification Card, Driver's License, or Utility Bill. Library cards and TriMet passes are not valid forms of ID.

Curated by Laura Lo Forti and Greta Smith.

Made possible by the generous support of: The Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, Portland State University and the Division of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Oregon Historical Society, The City of Portland, and Prosper Portland

Special thanks to: Oregon Historical Society, City of Portland Archives, Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center, Multnomah County Archives, Portland State University Special Collections and University Archives, Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources, James S. Harrison, Oregon Black Pioneers, Kim Moreland, Thomas Robinson, Terry Baxter, Susan Barthel, Tanya March, Norman Gholston, and Peter Marsh.

Did you live in Vanport or have friends or family who did? What stories have you witnessed or heard of community life, the flood, and its aftermath? The Vanport Mosaic invites you to contribute to our on-going effort, now in its third year, to record oral histories and digitize photos and artifacts. Please contact us at or 510.717.2441.

The Vanport Mosaic is a community-driven and artist-led collective, comprised of artists, historians, educators, and media makers who engage the public in remembering silenced histories of the Pacific Northwest in order to understand our present. Save the date for the Vanport Mosaic Festival 2018, May 25-28.

Vanport Mosaic
Vanport Mosaic is a collective of artists, storytellers, educators and media makers seeking to engage the public in remembering the silenced histories of the Pacific Northwest in order to better understand our present.

Sep 30, 2017
From Maxville to Vanport: Community Input Event
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble (PJCE) is creating a new piece of community-guided music, “From Maxville to Vanport,” incorporating the stories of two unique towns in Oregon’s history: Maxville and Vanport. The project will culminate in a concert-length composition for the PJCE to be performed May 26 and 27, 2018, as part of the Vanport Mosaic Festival (May 25–28). Maxville and Vanport both had significant multicultural populations at a time when Oregon was particularly unfriendly to non-white residents, and their histories deserve to be heard and better understood by all Oregonians.

At this event, PJCE will present a song that will become part of that larger work and will gather input from people who care about these stories. Audience members will hear vocalist Marilyn Keller and composer/pianist Ezra Weiss perform the song “From Maxville to Vanport,” featuring text by Renee Mitchell. Commentary from all three as well as Maxville Heritage Executive Director Gwendolyn Trice and former Vanport resident Edward Washington will follow, along with robust discussion with the audience. Vanport flood survivors, their families, and all people who are interested in how this story will be told as PJCE takes the performance on tour to eastern Oregon and back to Portland in the spring of 2018 are especially encouraged to attend.

The Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble is a 12-piece jazz chamber orchestra which commissions and performs original works by its members and by other jazz composers in the Portland music community. The PJCE has received support from the OCF’s 2015 Creative Heights and Small Arts programs, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and the Oregon Arts Commission. Now in its tenth year, the PJCE has commissioned more than 50 composers, and produced more than 30 concerts of original works.

This event is sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, and the Maxville to Vanport Project is sponsored by the Oregon Community Foundation.

Oct 7, 2017
Genealogy Workshop — Researching Chinese-American Family History
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Have you just started digging into your family tree, or are you a genealogy veteran who wants to learn more tips and tricks? Whether you have a lot, or a little, or even no experience with genealogy, family historians from the OHS Research Library will make digging up the past loads of fun! Join us for an upcoming family history workshop at the Oregon Historical Society to help you discover your roots.

In this class, researchers of Chinese American family history will gain background knowledge and techniques specific to researching the Chinese American population. Participants will learn about the complexity of names in both Chinese and English transliterations, immigration history (both legal and otherwise), grave marker reading, Chinese obituaries, historic and contemporary family tree documentation, unique sources and databases for Chinese Americans, village mapping, and Chinese literacy challenges in research. This class will illustrate the use of resources ranging from historic and archival documents to contemporary DNA testing, and everything in between. This class encourages the use of the internet as a tool to maximize research yields.

Oct 8, 2017
Race and Resistance in Early Twentieth Century Oregon
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Presented by Dr. Kimberly Jensen and Jo Ogden.

Like the United States as a whole and many other nations, the state of Oregon has a long history of linking economic, political, and cultural rights — or lack thereof — to the race associated with a person or group of people. Race, a human power relation, orders access to wealth and power to people defined as White, at the expense of others. Such generalization, however, obscures the complexity and the many individual stories that can help us understand the ongoing impact of race and the struggles against it today. Join us as we delve into this history by exploring broad themes and specific incidences of ways people enacted and resisted race-based policies from one time period: Oregon in the early twentieth century.

Kimberly Jensen is Professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University. She is the author of Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War, Oregon's Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life in Activism, and "'Women's Positive Duty to Participate': The Practice of Female Citizenship in Oregon and the Expanding Surveillance State During the First World War and its Aftermath" in the Summer 2017 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

Johanna Ogden is an independent Portland historian. She is author of "Race, Labor, and Getting Out the Harvest: The Bracero Program in World War II Hood River, Oregon," in Memory, Community, and Activism – Mexican Migration and Labor in the Pacific Northwest, Michigan State University Press, and "Ghadar: Historical Silences and Notions of Belonging," the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Summer 2012 issue. Her upcoming book, India's Oregon Trail: Ghadar, Thind and the Struggle for Belonging, is set for publication in fall 2018 by University of Washington Press.

Nov 11, 2017
Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park

Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival presented by Bank of America returns on Saturday, November 11 at the Portland Art Museum and surrounding venues in the South Park Blocks in downtown Portland. The 2017 Festival is generously sponsored by Bank of America.

Find the 2017 lineup here!

Spoiler alert!

  • 10:00 a.m. Border Crossing: Poetry and Place featuring John Freeman, Erika L. Sánchez, Javier Zamora, and Matthew Zapruder
  • 11:45 a.m. It’s Complicated: LGBTQ+ YA featuring Nina LaCour, Julie Murphy, and Tillie Walden
  • 12:00 p.m. Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
  • 1:30 p.m. Disruption: Feminist Digital Culture featuring Doree Shafrir and Ellen Ullman
  • 1:30 p.m. Rebel Rebel: Revolutionaries and Resisters featuring Julie C. Dao, Fonda Lee, and Emily Suvada
  • 3:00 p.m. The Body and Power: New Black Poetry featuring Dawn Lundy Martin, Morgan Parker, and Danez Smith
  • 5:00 p.m. Resistance and Rebellion: Dystopian Fiction featuring Omar El Akkad, Benjamin Percy, and Lidia Yuknavitch
  • 5:00 p.m. Girl Versus the World: Searching for Identity featuring Erika L. Sánchez and Reneé Watson

Join thousands of readers of all ages for a full day of activities featuring more than 100+ authors, onstage events, pop-up readings, 15 writing workshops, and a book fair with 70+ local and national publishing vendors and literary organizations.

ADVANCE TICKETS are $15 (day-of tickets are $18) and include all-day admission to the Portland Art Museum and a $5 voucher to spend at the extensive book fair. *$5 voucher is not included with free tickets.

Purchase or reserve your festival pass today:

  • Youth 17 and under and/or high school students with ID enjoy FREE admission to the festival.

*Active members of the military and veterans receive FREE admission

Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival is dedicated to bringing readers together to celebrate a shared passion for books. This event is a place to discover new books, to meet your favorite writers, and to be inspired and entertained. We look forward to seeing you all at this year's festival on Saturday, November 11.

This year's venue partners include the Portland Art Museum, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts venues: the Arlene Schnitzer, Concert Hall, the Winningstad Theatre, and the Brunish Theatre, The Old Church, the Oregon Historical Society, Northwest Film Center, and the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Portland.

Our 2017 indie bookselling partners include Powell's City of Books, Green Bean Books, and Broadway Books.

Nov 12, 2017
The Art of the Protest Song
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

In celebration of High Hopes: The Journey of John F. Kennedy, the Oregon Historical Society has partnered with four local folk musicians to present a showcase of popular topical/ and protest songs from the Kennedy era as well as original songs focused on contemporary issues. Join us for a rousing display of the music that helped define Kennedy’s era and the tradition of protest songs that continues today.

Alexa Wiley is a post-folk songwriter activist whose singing style is potent, tenacious, and spiritual.

Magda Leyna is a Portland-based singer/songwriter whose music focuses on creating empowered communities and liberating the indigenous feminine.

Nathan Earle is a songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist living in the NW US.

Bill Valenti is a seasoned folkie songwriter from Bend, Oregon, who launched the “Art of the Protest Song” series three years ago, bringing renewed focus to this powerful form of journalism.

This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by KBOO Community Radio.

Jan 20
50 Years of KBOO: OHS Exhibit Opening Party
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Come join us for an all-day party to kick off our exhibit opening at the Oregon Historical Society!

50 Years of KBOO is the story of Oregon’s first community radio station. Learn how KBOO started as a relief to Portland’s bleak FM desert and became a community effort to build a more accessible media. This exhibition reveals how KBOO connects to counter-culture and activism locally as well as nationally. See how radio is made, and how listener-supported radio first came to be, as part of a chronicle of our region’s shared history.

Apr 6
Origins of Today’s Radical Right & the Crisis in Our Democracy
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Democracy in Chains is an explosive exposé of the little-known thinker behind the radical right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change, and alter the Constitution: the Nobel Prize winning political economist James McGill Buchanan. It was Buchanan who taught Charles Koch that for capitalism to thrive, democracy must be enchained. Without Koch’s bottomless wealth, journalists have shown, American politics would not have reached their current nadir. But without Buchanan, Koch would not have a winning strategy for his messianic vision of free-reign capitalism—or a corporate university at his disposal to guide and defend it.

The Atlantic has called the book a “vibrant intellectual history of the radical right.” George Monbiot wrote in The Guardian: “It’s the missing chapter: a key to understanding the politics of the past half century.” NPR’s reviewer concluded that “If you’re worried about what all this means for America’s future, you should be.”

Come hear Professor MacLean share the story of how she found the trail of this collaboration in the archives as she explains its frightening import for our lives and our institutions.

Nancy MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the immediate past president of the Labor and Working Class History Association. She is the author of several books, including Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan; Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace; The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000: A Brief History with Documents; and Debating the American Conservative Movement: 1945 to the Present. She also served the editor of Scalawag: A White Southerner’s Journey through Segregation to Human Rights Activism. Her scholarship has received more than a dozen prizes and awards, and been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships Foundation.

This program is offered in partnership with the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative, a joint effort of the OSU Center for the Humanities and School of History, Philosophy, and Religion.

Apr 8
Second Sunday: Housing Segregation and Resistance in Portland
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park

Inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act and the publication of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, local researchers are uncovering and analyzing new sources related to the history of housing segregation — and resistance to that discrimination — in Portland, Oregon. Through a roundtable of short presentations, the audience will learn about the Black community’s creative tactics in resistance to housing discrimination, how the Portland Housing Bureau used zoning to promote segregation or integration, ways Portland laws and policies created and enforced de jure racial segregation, and how realtors supported segregation through restrictive covenants in housing deeds.

Apr 19
The Color of Law with Richard Rothstein
Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta

Tickets are $10 and space is limited; purchase today at

Recently named by the New York Times as one of the 100 notable books of 2017, Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is an explosive, alarming history that finally confronts how American governments in the twentieth century deliberately imposed residential racial segregation on metropolitan areas nationwide. Join us for an evening with the author, who will discuss the findings described in his new book and will hold a post-lecture conversation with local expert Dr. Karen Gibson, author of “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940–2000.”

The Color of Law documents how American cities from San Francisco to Boston became so racially divided, as federal, state, and local governments systematically imposed residential segregation through a variety of policies. Those policies were supplemented by racially purposeful government programs that depressed African American incomes, making escape nearly impossible from neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage. Properties in African American neighborhoods frequently had higher assessed-to-market-value ratios, resulting in higher property tax payments. The federal government certified unions that excluded African Americans from membership, denying them full participation in the economic boom that followed World War II.

“Rothstein is brilliant and has the kind of fine understanding of the machinery of government policy as it relates to housing that I deeply envy.” —ta nehisi Coates, in The Atlantic

Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at the University of California (Berkeley). In addition to The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America, he is the author of Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right (2008); Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap (2004); and The Way We Were? Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement (1998).

Dr. Karen J. Gibson is an Associate Professor in the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. She has an M.S. in Public Management and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. Before joining the Toulan School, she was a post-doctoral fellow with the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) at Carnegie Mellon's Department of History. Her scholarship seeks to answer questions about the political economy of racial economic inequality in the urban setting. In Portland, research topics include urban redevelopment policy; community economic development; and housing policy and neighborhood change in the Portland's historic African American community, the Albina District (1940 – present). She teaches courses on community economic development, housing, and urban studies. Her publications have appeared in Cities, Feminist Economics, Transforming Anthropology, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, and the Oregon Historical Quarterly.