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Oregon Black History Project records
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Oregon Black History Project records

  • Mss 2854
  • Collection
  • 1844-1981

The Oregon Black History Project was a grant-funded project that conducted research on the history of African-Americans in Oregon up to the beginning of World War II. The project was directed by Elizabeth McLagan and culminated in her book "A Peculiar Paradise: A History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940," which was published by the Georgian Press of Portland, Oregon, in 1980.

The collection consists of administrative records, research files, and photographs gathered or created by the Oregon Black History Project. Most of the research files consist of notes and quotes, photocopies, or excerpts from primary and secondary resources concerning the history of African-Americans in Oregon from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century. Most of these source excerpts were assembled between 1976 and 1979. Topics include early African-American emigrants to Oregon; the slavery debate in Oregon; exclusion laws and other forms of discrimination or violence against African-Americans; African-American business, social, and activist organizations; and early 20th-century African-American newspapers such as The Advocate, the New Age, and the Portland Times.

Photographs include portraits of African-American Oregonians; African-American social groups and activities; residences; and businesses operated by African-Americans in Portland, Oregon. Some of the photographs are copies of images originally published in newspapers such as Portland Times and The Advocate.

McLagan, Elizabeth, 1947-

Harriet Redmond

Portrait of Mrs. Hattie Redmond taken from a newspaper clipping. Harriet "Hattie" Redmond (1862-1952) was a suffrage leader and a civil rights advocate in early twentieth-century Portland. She was the president of the Colored Women's Equal Suffrage Association and an active member of the Oregon Colored Women's Council.

George Singleton, Portland

Portrait of George Singleton. Singleton was an early resident of Portland, who at one time lived on the northwest corner of Alder Street and Sixth Ave. He likely held many professions, as most early settlers did, but he is listed in the 1882 City Directory as a "hackman" (driver) for Acker and Leahy, a city stables on Washington (Burnside) and Stark.

Prince Hall Masons

Members of the Prince Hall Masons, a fraternal organization for black men that formed as chapters in the Northwest in the 1880s and 1890s. The Prince Hall chapter in Portland was organized in 1891, and its Grand Lodge was located on NE Russell Street (now the Secret Society bar). The Prince Hall Masons are still active in Portland.

Wasson, J. L. (James Lonnie)

Bethel AME Church

Unidentified members of the congregation standing in front of the east side of the Bethel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. The Bethel AME Church once stood on the corner of N. Larrabee Ave. and N. McMillen Street. It was torn down in the 1950s when the city built the Memorial Coliseum.

Freeman's Second Hand Store

Edward Freeman? and his children standing in front of Freeman's Second-Hand Store. Edward Freeman ran a second-hand store on Union Avenue (now NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) near what is now Fremont Park. He and his wife Ida moved with their son Theodore from Colorado in about 1915. They had two daughters in Portland, Ida and Gertrude.

J. Hedspeth Restaurant

Two men in the J. Hedspeth Restaurant, on Flanders Street in 1912. The restaurant was owned by English G. Hedspeth. Hedspeth began as a waiter at the Portland Hotel.