Oregon Black History Project records

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Identity elements

Reference code

Mss 2854

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Oregon Black History Project records


  • 1844-1981 (Creation)


2.66 cubic feet, (5 legal document cases; 1 slim legal document case; 1 slim letter document case)

Name of creator


Biographical history

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

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.

System of arrangement

Collection is arranged in five series: Series 1. Administrative records; Series 2. Biographical materials and sketches; Series 3. Oral history materials; Series 4. Topical research; Series 5. Photographs.

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Conditions governing reproduction

The Oregon Historical Society owns the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from copyright owners.

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Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of Christine W. Poole and Helen Warbington, December 1989 (Lib. Acc. 19746).

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Related materials elements

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Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Oral histories conducted for the project were separated to Oral History Collections, Oregon Historical Society Research Library. A microfilm copy of records of the NAACP of Portland, Oregon, was separated and cataloged as Microfilm 195.

Related descriptions

Publication notes

Copies of "A Peculiar Paradise," the book produced from the Oregon Black History Project research, are held in the book collections of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Notes element

General note

Photographs in the collection were previously designated as Org. Lot 482, "A Peculiar Paradise" photographic collection; and Org. Lot 679, Oregon Black History Project photographs collection.

General note

Online collection contains a selection of items from the full collection. More information about the full collection can be found here: http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv525603

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Oregon Black History Project records, Mss 2854, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

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