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Valley Migrant League photographs
- 1965 - 1968 (Creation)
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Collection consists of photographs used by the Valley Migrant League (VML) for its program newspaper, "Opportunity News." Most of the photographs were taken by VML staff. Many of the individuals and places depicted in the prints and negatives in this collection were identified by Oregon Historical Society archivists from the corresponding articles in "Opportunity News."
Subjects depicted in the photographs include VML-sponsored adult education and vocational training programs, including photographs of classrooms, workshops, and businesses hosting work-training programs as well as portraits of program graduates and teachers. Also depicted are VML’s children’s daycare programs including photographs of children in the daycare centers and on educational field trips as well as community events, sports, and cultural celebrations including the Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana, May Day, and Christmas. Photographs in this collection also document living and working conditions for Migrant laborers including depictions of laborers in fields, operating agricultural equipment, and in labor camps, as well as rural healthcare and mobile medical clinics. Also represented in the collections is VML involvement in labor and community organizing, including meeting with political leaders and local picket lines in support of the Delano Grape Strike. The photographs in the collection also include portraits of many individuals associated with VML and the agricultural labor movement of the 1960s.
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The Valley Migrant League (VML) was a private, nonprofit organization that advocated for migrant farm laborers in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. The VML was founded in 1964 and received its first major funding in May 1965 through the Office of Economic Opportunity as part of Great Society anti-poverty programs and the federal War on Poverty. VML established its administrative headquarters in Woodburn, Oregon, with Area Opportunity Centers in Aumsville, Dayton, Hillsboro, Independence, Salem, Sandy, and Woodburn. VML programs included adult education and vocational training; advocacy for safer working and housing conditions for migrant laborers; child care centers; and labor organizing activities. VML also published the newspapers "Opportunity News" (1965-1968) and “Relampago” (1970-1973). VML services were available to the families of anyone who worked in seasonal agriculture. Most of the organization’s outreach focused on Mexican and other Latino laborers in the Willamette Valley, but the program also aided Black workers and members of the Russian Old Believers community and other white laborers. VML reorganized in 1974 under a new name, Oregon Rural Opportunities (ORO), and expanded its scope to become a state-wide program. ORO operated until federal funding cuts closed the program in 1979.
Online collection contains a selection of items from the full collection. More information about the full collection can be found here: https://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv23951
- Citation: Valley Migrant League photographs, Org. Lot 74, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.