Oregon History

Oregon’s racist past part two 1920-today: A timeline of exclusion, segregation, trauma… & repair attempts

This post is the second part to last week’s focus of Oregon’s racist past before 1920.

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This timeline is re-posted and adapted with permission from the Oregon Center for Educational Equity:

Looking Back In Order to Move Forward

An Often Untold History Affecting Oregon’s Past, Present and Future

Timeline of Oregon and U.S. Racial, Immigration and Education History



KKK flourished in Oregon employing all of the same racist terrorism including murder that the hate group conducted in other states. By 1923, Oregon Klan leaders claimed 35,000 members in more than 60 local chapters with tens of thousands more sympathizers who were not official members. Oregon’s Governor from 1922 – 26, Walter M. Pierce, though not a member, was overtly supported by the Klan and he promoted the Klan’s agenda.



Black men were abducted and threatened with lynching in Medford, Jacksonville and Oregon City. Timothy Pettis, a Black man in Coos Bay was murdered and castrated. No one was charged with any of these crimes.



Together with Freemasons, Klansmen spearheaded a drive to outlaw private and parochial schools which they viewed as primary obstacles in their drive for “Americanism.” A Klan initiative required all children between the ages of 8 and 18 to attend public schools. The rallying cry was “One Flag! One School! One Language!” Oregonians, by a margin of 11,000, voted to make their state the first in the U.S. to mandate a strict uniform school system. In 1924, the federal court in Portland declared this law unconstitutional. In 1925 in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional as well.



The Oregon State Legislature, dominated by members of the Klan, passed a number of restrictive laws. The Alien Land Law prevented first generation Japanese Americans from owning or leasing land. The Oregon Alien Business Restriction Law allowed cities to refuse business licenses to aliens (especially Japanese & Chinese) for the operation of pool halls, dance halls, pawnshops, or soft drink establishments. The law also required grocery stores and hotels run by “aliens” to publicly advertise their nationalities, thereby enabling customers to choose which businesses to discriminate against on the basis of race and ethnicity.



An Oregon WWI veteran was denied U.S. citizenship. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Bhagat Singh Thind could not be a naturalized citizen. Anthropologists defined people of India as belonging to the “Caucasian” race. A previous ruling had affirmed that immigration law referring to “White” meant “Caucasian” as it applied to denying citizenship to light skinned Japanese immigrants. In this case, Justice Sutherland argued that the “common man’s” definition of “White” did not correspond to all “Caucasians”. Even though people from India were considered “Caucasian” they were not “White”. Thus the color of skin became the legal qualification for citizenship in the United States.



A White man from Alabama moved to Grants Pass with his three Black servants, who may have been enslaved. The local newspaper, printed on their front page “Let’s Keep Grants Pass A White Man’s Town.”



Oregon repealed its Exclusion Law, which barred Blacks from the state, by amending the state constitution to remove it from the Bill of Rights. Racist Language remained in the Oregon Constitution until voters passed a bill to remove it in 2000.



The Oregon State Constitution was finally amended to remove a clause denying Blacks the right to vote and eliminating restrictions that discriminated against Blacks and Chinese voters.



Oregon law officially segregated Mexican students on the basis of being of Indian descent. It made clear to exempt “White Mexicans”– those fair-skinned descendants of the Spaniards who do not have “Indian blood”.



Residents of southern Oregon and northern California proposed creation of a new state, Jefferson. A group handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence. It stated that the state of Jefferson was in “patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon”. Separatists still continue to want a state with less racial diversity and less government intervention.



A Japanese submarine shelled Fort Stevens near Astoria. Despite having caused no significant damage, the attack raised awareness of possible future threats. It is the only hostile shelling of a military base on the U.S. mainland during World War II. Also, a Japanese submarine launched seaplanes that dropped bombs on the southern Oregon coast. Incendiary (fire) bombs were to cause fires in the thick Siskiyou National Forest. These events triggered panic in Oregon and increased racism against all Asians.



All persons of Japanese heritage, whether U.S. citizens or immigrants, living in the western portion of Oregon (and all western states) were forced to move to camps by the Wartime Civil Control Administration. More than 4,500 Japanese Americans from western Oregon were sent to internment camps: 2/3 were American citizens.


During WWII

Oregon’s African-American population grew substantially – in Portland increasing from 2,565 in 1940 to 25,000 in 1944. Over 7,000 “non-white” workers were employed in the Portland shipyards. Although Kaiser had promised good jobs, local unions resisted integration. Many help-wanted notices specified “White only.” After pressure from NAACP, a federal inspection team and a reprimand from President Roosevelt, the unions compromised. More skilled jobs were opened to Blacks, but only for the duration of the war. Blacks were allowed to work in union shops and paid union dues but were denied union benefits. To accommodate the influx of workers, a new town was built in the lowland area adjacent to the Columbia River just north of Portland. First called Kaiserville and then Vanport, it was the world’s largest housing project with 35,000 residents, making it the second largest community in Oregon. With this rise in diversity in populations came signs throughout Portland: “We Cater to White Trade Only.”



Large numbers of Mexican laborers under the Mexican Farm Labor Program (MFLP) or Bracero program came to Oregon. Migrant workers were used throughout the state and instrumental to Oregon’s agricultural economics.



Balloons launched from Japan and carrying explosive and incendiary bombs drifted on the jet stream to the United States. The goal was to start forest fires and wreak devastation. Oregon alone counted 45 balloon incidents. Balloon bombs caused the only deaths due to enemy action on the U.S. mainland during World War II creating increased fear and suspicion of people of Japanese descent in Oregon.



The Oregon House of Representatives passed Joint Memorial No. 9 on February 28, 1945. The statement called on President Roosevelt to prevent the return of Japanese Americans “for the duration of the present war with Japan.” The legislators based their request on what they described as “considerable antagonism to such return” to Oregon. It also claimed that the internees would be “safer and cause less civilian disturbance in the relocation centers.”



The former internees who did trickle back to their old homes were often met with open hostility by White neighbors. Some found their homes looted and their orchards vandalized while others endured boycotts of their fruits and vegetables or heard racial slurs or threats. A few were assaulted physically. Along with the many instances of blatant racism, intimidation, and hatred, some Oregonians welcomed and supported the returning Japanese Americans, but hatred was often directed at them.



Hood River received national attention when the local American Legion Post removed the names of 16 “Nisei” (born in the U.S. of parents who were immigrants from Japan) members of the U.S. military from a plaque honoring local armed forces.



In a move to hold Northwest growers accountable for their employment of migrant workers from Mexico, PL – 45, the new Bracero program, required employers to monitor and pay for screening, selection and roundtrip transportation for workers from Mexico to the Northwest. Growers were shocked at the terms of the agreement since the U.S. government had previously paid to provide these services. With growing anti-Mexican sentiment and anxiety about the protests by Braceros who called for decent treatment, the growers refused to pay for these Bracero labor costs ending the legal program in Oregon. Farm labor was still necessary so growers illegally employed migrant workers who often were stranded financially in Oregon unable to leave.



The Urban League of Portland confronted the Housing Authority for not enforcing federal policy of non-discrimination in housing. The local policy was to separate tenants according to race, making it impossible to serve either Whites or People of Color on a first come-first served basis. Some vacant housing in Vanport and Guilds Lake were unavailable to White people because they were in an area designated for Blacks only. The Urban League’s urging had little effect on the Housing Authority actions. The Portland Housing Authority did not integrate its operations until 1950 and even by 1957 was not offering housing to most Blacks.



A Columbia River flood left 39 people dead; obliterating Vanport. It was a declining settlement as non-whites were encouraged to leave once they were no longer needed for the war effort. There was no direct action taken by Portland’s Housing Authority to resettle non-White flood victims. Most displaced Blacks were forced to congregate in the segregated Albina section of town or left the Portland area. Racial discrimination meant no place to live and no more well-paying jobs. A once thriving community full of jazz and other art forms was decimated.



Oregon realtors followed the “National Realtors Code” (based on an earlier state law) that proclaimed that “a realtor shall never introduce into a neighborhood members of any race or nationality whose presence will be detrimental to property values”.



Fair Employment Act empowered the State Labor Bureau to prevent discrimination in employment. Oregon’s Fair Employment Practices Commission is created.



Portland Development Commission policies (Model Cities Program and Urban Renewal) result in the destruction and displacement of hundreds of homes, businesses, and institutions in the Albina neighborhood, the heart of the African-American community, to make way for the construction of the Memorial Coliseum, Interstate 5 and the expansion of Emanuel Hospital.



Oregon repealed its law prohibiting interracial marriages.



Hundreds of Oregon Issei, those born in Japan, applied for citizenship after Congress lifted the ban.



Portland School District hired the first African American high school teacher. Robert G. Ford became an English and Social Studies teacher at Roosevelt High.



With passage of a statewide public accommodations law, overt discrimination in public places was banned in Oregon for the first time. Businesses had to remove their racist signage that had limited and segregated access to public places.



The federal “termination” policies dissolved the Klamath, Grand Ronde and Siletz tribal reservations and sanctioned the selling of their tribal lands. U.S. Public Law 588 terminated relationships with Western Oregon Indian Tribes, declaring that the federal government no longer recognized the tribes as Indian nations. U.S. services to Indian tribes ended including treaty rights.



Oregon Governor Douglas McKay resigned to become the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. He led the implementation of the Indian Termination policy removing all federal recognition, eliminating federal aid/benefits/legal responsibilities, and abolishing reservation status thus taking tribally held lands out of a national trust and now subject to local laws and taxes.



The mighty and picturesque Celilo Falls on the Columbia River east of The Dalles was destroyed with the construction of The Dalles Dam. The Falls and a way of life for Indian tribes who had fished there for millennia disappeared. After 11,000 years, the oldest continuously inhabited community in North America ceased to exist with little White dominant culture concern about this destruction of land and culture.



Lawmakers passed the Oregon Fair Housing Act, barring practices that had discriminated against African Americans in buying and renting places to live. This law made it illegal for property owners or their agents receiving any public funding to discriminate “solely because of race, color, religion, or national origin.”



Oregon State Council of Churches joined with Oregon College of Education to provide summer school programs for migrant children. By 1961 permanent programs existed to accommodate migrant children. The Oregonian reported that “Oregon was one of a very few states that offer special school opportunities to migrant children.”



Oregon finally ratified the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which provided that no government may prevent a citizen from voting based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (enslavement).



NAACP charged Portland with having racially segregated schools. Since “neighborhood schools” were located in the legally racially segregated areas of the city, there was little racial integration of Oregon schools and society.



First Fiesta Mexicana held by the Pro Fiesta Mexicanas committee in Woodburn.



Busing of African American students began in Portland as the major means to desegregate schools.



What began as a political rally to stir the African American community to “revolution” in Irving Park on Sunday, August 30, 1967 turned into 2 nights of disturbances. 200-300 people threw bottles and rocks at automobiles and through store windows, while a few hurled firebombs. Violence stemmed from on-going frustration with racism and denial of civil rights and fair treatment.



Portland police clash with young Albina residents on Union Avenue (now MLK Jr. Blvd). By 1960, four-fifths of the city’s Black population lived in the Albina neighborhood — a result of racial segregation and isolation — while the vast majority of officers who policed the neighborhood were White with little experience with or training to work in cross-racial interactions.



School populations decline throughout Oregon leaving far more school facilities than could be fully utilized. With the rise of suburbs, these underused facilities were mainly in urban or older areas usually populated by People of Color and of lower socio- economic status.



Though no current concrete evidence that “Sundown Laws” existed on the statute books has been found in Oregon, there is a rich oral history. It describes signs and attitudes throughout Oregon well into the 1970s that warned Blacks and other People of Color to be out of town by sundown. James Loewen’s book, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, documents this practice throughout the U.S.



The Commission for Chicano Affairs established. In 1983 it was renamed the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs.



Colegio Cesar Chavez, the first Latino four-year college in the U.S., was created on the former campus of Mt. Angel College in Silverton. Its primary aim was to educate migrant workers and other working class people. It closed in 1983 due to lack of support and access to the resources of the dominant culture system.


Mid 1970s 

Oregon Indian Education Association was formed. OIEA works to update and help implement the Oregon American Indian/Alaska Native Education State Plan. OIEA continues to help to formulate state policy to eliminate stereotypical Native American mascots in Oregon public schools and keep native languages and cultures alive.



Willamette Valley Immigration Project opened in Portland. It then moved to Woodburn to protect and represent undocumented workers. It was founded in response to an increase in Immigration and Nationalization (INS) raids in Oregon. WVIP provides legal advice and representation to undocumented immigrants.



Kam Wah Chung museum opened in John Day, Oregon to pay tribute to the contributions of Doctor Ing Hay, a legendary herbal doctor, who treated people of all races from Walla Walla to the southern Nevada border. Patients came to him for treatment from throughout the West. He and Long On “broke the racial barriers of the mining frontier and were respected citizens in Eastern Oregon. Even today they are warmly remembered by some of the old-timers in John Day and Canyon City.”



The Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians became first in Oregon (second in the nation) to regain federal recognition. The U.S. government reversed its stance and restored legal recognition of the Siletz. Self-governance followed in 1992, which allowed tribal control over monetary distribution and programs.



Being denied their legal treaty rights, the Klamath Tribe filed suit in Federal District Court. They worked diligently within the dominant culture judicial system to reaffirm their hunting and fishing rights on former reservation lands. They won their court case.



Vic Atiyeh elected Governor of Oregon, the first governor in the United States of Arabic descent; re-elected in 1983.



Oregon had the distinction for the largest Skinhead Movement in the country.


Until 1980

Portland used mandatory busing to “improve” racial balance of public schools. Ron Herndon and the Black United Front worked to stop it. The Portland School Board eventually responded with a plan to desegregate schools “voluntarily”: by ending forced busing; infusing the city’s Black schools with extra money and teachers, creating additional “magnet” schools in Black neighborhoods and letting Black and White students transfer out of their neighborhoods to different schools. For the first time, all students, regardless of race, could attend their neighborhood school or go elsewhere. The idea was to boost the quality of the Black schools (by attracting White students) and to give Black students the choice to move to White schools. It had limited impact. Portland schools remain very segregated.



Two police officers dumped dead opossums at an African American-owned restaurant in Portland. The incident evoked ugly KKK imagery and touched off one of the most contentious disputes between police, city government and the public. As a result, a citizen’s committee to review police actions in Portland was created.



El Hispanic News began publication as the first and now oldest Hispanic publication in the Pacific Northwest.



After much protest and lobbying by Indian activists, Congress finally restored the Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians to federally recognized status. Though recognized status enabled them to move forward with the process of restoring and rebuilding their tribal communities and structures, lasting negative effects of the U.S. government’s 1953 termination policies still persist. Tribes have never recovered their land bases and the natural resources on which their tribal economies and social systems were built.



Oregon voters approved a state lottery. In 1988 when the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act decreed that states could not prevent Native American tribes from offering whatever games the states permitted, Oregon tribes began building casinos on their lands. The development of the gaming industry is considered by many to be the most significant political and economic change for Oregon’s tribes since the termination process of the 1950’s. While revenues from gaming have profound impact, the many issues facing Native Americans living on the reservations are by no means solved by the influx of gaming revenues.



Lloyd Stevenson, an African-American man and former U.S. Marine, was choked to death by a Portland Police officer claiming he mistook him for a robber. On the day of Stevenson’s funeral, two White police officers sold T-shirts showing a smoking handgun and the slogan: “Don’t Choke ‘Em, Smoke “Em.”



Three members of East Side White Pride and White Aryan Resistance (WAR) confronted two Black men in Portland. Mulugeta Seraw was beaten to death with a baseball bat. Ken Mieske said they killed Mr. Seraw “because of his race.” Tom Metzger, head of WAR, said these White Supremacists did a “civic duty” by killing Seraw. Two years later, Seraw’s family won a civil case against Tom and John Metzger for a total of $12.5 million. The Metzgers declared bankruptcy – WAR disbanded.


Oregon voters passed Measure 5, property tax limitations, that capped spending for public schools. Designed to help equalize support of public education throughout the state, this change from local school funding caused Oregon’s schools to suffer budget reductions despite economic prosperity. 



Poverty rate increased. Oregon’s child poverty rate shot up 25% between 1993 and 1998, so that one in five children in the state was living in poverty. With educational and social services budget cuts, children suffered.



In Employment Div., Dept. of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, Native Americans lost jobs and were denied unemployment benefits because they tested positive after participating in religious use of peyote. The Supreme Court refused them 1st Amendment protection. Justice O’Connor in the dissenting opinion explained that “the 1st Amendment was enacted precisely to protect the rights of those whose religious practices are not shared by the majority and may be viewed with hostility.”



Oregon Legislature passed the Minority Teacher Bill setting the goal that by the year 2001 the number of minority teachers and administrators shall be approximately proportionate to the number of minority children enrolled in public schools. This goal was not reached by 2001, nor is it currently the reality for Oregon schools.



The Chicano/Latino Studies Program was established at Portland State University.



CAUSA, Oregon Immigrant Rights Coalition was formed.



Oregon’s Executive Order 96-30 acknowledged the need for better relationships between state government and federally recognized Indian tribal governments in the state. The Governor created a forum to maximize intergovernmental relations. The forum included an Education Committee.



Ever since the U.S. Army forced the Nez Perce people out of their homeland in the Wallowa Valley of north-eastern Oregon in 1877, the tribe has worked to get some of that land back. By the 1930s the effort had become known as “the Nez Perce lost cause”. In 1997 the Nez Perce Tribe bought 10,000 acres and returned to Wallowa County.



The Oregon legislature held a Day of Acknowledgement to recognize past discrimination earlier legislatures had sanctioned.



Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 103 relating to multicultural education policy for public schools. It called for the development and implementation of guidelines by the Oregon Department of Education by 2003.



Oregonians finally voted to remove all racist language from its constitution which still had a clause that read: “No free Negro, or mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this State, or hold any real estate.” Though discriminatory language was rendered unenforceable by federal laws and amendments, it was not until this election that removal of several examples of institutional racism and oppression were taken out of the Oregon Constitution.



The Oregonian reported that Ron Herndon, Black civil rights activist, arranged a mock casket demonstration in front of the Portland School Board and orchestrated demonstrators shouting: “We’re all fired up! Can’t take no more! No more promises! No more lies!” The mock coffin symbolized the “death sentence” Portland Public Schools handed to low-income and minority students because of the achievement gap in reading, writing and math plus the opportunity gap between them and White students.



Native Language Preservation and Instruction Partnership was formed through a collaborative effort between Oregon’s nine federally-recognized tribes and the Oregon Department of Education to support implementation of endangered American Indian language and culture instruction programs in Oregon schools.



Though new standards for Oregon administrative licensure were developed to include required demonstration of knowledge, skills and dispositions related to cultural competence, the over-whelming numbers of White dominant culture administrative candidates and instructors in licensure programs are ill equipped to understand the complexities necessary to shift the status quo.



Hundreds of thousands Latina/o/x immigrants and others rallied throughout Oregon to protest a federal proposal to make illegal immigration a felony. A “Day Without Immigrants, boycotted work, school & shopping to symbolize the contributions of immigrants.



U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel “raided the offices” of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. in Portland. More than 165 detained workers were sent to a processing facility for possible deportation. Staffing at the plant is the responsibility of American Staffing Resources Inc, whose offices were also raided. Children returned home from school to find a parent detained and in the process of deportation. Schools started to prepare for how to deal with children of deported parents.



An independent investigation commissioned by the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) confirmed that racial slurs and inappropriate actions occurred during and after games at the state basketball tournament between Portland’s Roosevelt High and two Eugene schools, Churchill and North Eugene. Students from the three schools met and worked together on reconciliation and understanding in order to create a positive outcome from the racial ugliness.



The Daily Barometer newspaper of Oregon State University, showed a photograph of a White student in “blackface”. The article encouraged OSU students to “blackout” the football stadium. On November 8th a noose was hanging from a tree outside OSU’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. After students complained about the threatening image, the fraternity claimed it was part of their Halloween decorations. Many White students did not understand the horrendous lynching symbolism of a noose.



Eugene Oregon’s 4J school district announced retooling of its decades-old open-enrollment policy because schools there were becoming socioeconomically segregated and many lacked racial and economic diversity.



A family in Medford, Oregon had a cross and the letters KKK burned into their lawn. The man, an immigrant from Jamaica, has lived in Medford with his family since 2000. Medford police considered this incident to be the 5th local “hate crime” that year.



Oregon changed requirements for drivers licenses and state ID cards. Applicants for new, renewal, or replacement licenses, instruction permits, or identification cards must provide acceptable proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful presence in the country. In 2019, Oregon passed The Equal Access to Roads Act that removed this requirement. Motorists still required to pass a driver’s test and prove they live in Oregon.



Oregonians defeated Measure 58 to ban all programs that support bilingualism for English language learners. It would have mandated students to enroll in (undefined) “English immersion classes” for one to two years. After this time, the student would be prohibited by law from receiving instruction in any other language, regardless of the student’s, parent’s or teacher’s choice. The initiative exempted classes which “teach English speaking students a foreign language,” creating the possibility of an alarming inequality in state education policy.



Four students at George Fox University in Newberg confessed to hanging an effigy of Barack Obama from a tree with a sign saying “Act Six Reject”. Act Six is a scholarship and leadership program for Portland students, many of whom are People of Color. The culprits were suspended for up to a year, must complete community service and multicultural education before returning to school. The FBI concluded its investigation with no federal charges filed.



The Oregon Library Association selected the book, Stubborn Twig, about a Japanese American family in Hood River, for the statewide Oregon Reads program to focus on and stimulate dialogue and study of Oregon’s racial and immigration history.



The film, Papers, debuted in Portland Oregon. Undocumented youth share the challenges they face as they turn 18 without legal status. 65,000 undocumented students graduate every year from high school without “papers.” In most cases, it is against the law for them to go to college, work or drive while they also have no path to citizenship.



Oregon League of Minority Voters implemented a new civil rights tactic. They offered scholarships to encourage White college students in Oregon to pursue studies in race relations. “We lack White participation in the racial conversation in this state, so we are trying to do something about it,” says Promise King, executive director.



An audit to test whether Black and Latino renters face barriers in the housing in Portland. It found that landlords and leasing agents discriminated in 64% of the tests. The Fair Housing Council sent a Black or Latino tester and a White tester to answer rental ads with a similar script about their employment history, family and incomes. Latinos were treated differently in 17 of 25 tests, and African Americans in 15 of 25. They were quoted higher rent and deposits, given additional fees, not offered applications or move-in specials, or shown inferior units.



Flyers from the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan were distributed in a Springfield, Oregon neighborhood. Some of the text: “There are thousands of groups working for the interests of blacks and other non-whites, but how many groups stand up for the cultural values of whites? Not many! As a result, we are faced with reverse discrimination in jobs, promotions and scholarships-high taxes for non-whites welfare…anti-white movies and TV shows. In short, a society oriented to the wishes of non-whites!” Readers were encouraged learn more about the KKK.



The Oregon Board of Education voted to ban Native American mascots in schools. The ban affects 16 Oregon high schools which had until 2017 to comply with the order or risk losing their state funding. Critics said Indian mascots are racist, ridicule Indian schools to keep mascots if they get approval from one of the state’s recognized tribes. About a half-dozen are seeking this option.



According to a police report, a Twitter account posted a message with a racial slur directed to an African American student at Lake Oswego High School who had played on the same state championship football team with the perpetrators. The tweet name used a racist cultural characterization of the city of Lake Oswego as “Lake NoNegro.” The targeted Black student left Lake Oswego High three weeks earlier following what he says was a long period of harassment and shunning by his teammates.



Oregon Legislature passed a law to offer in-state tuition for undocumented students (aka Dreamers) who have attended school in the United States for at least five years; studied at an Oregon high school for at least three years, have graduated;  and show intention to become a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.



University of Oregon removed Frederick S. Dunn’s name, the former Exalted Cyclops of the Ku Klux Klan, from a campus residence hall.



University of Oregon law professor, Nancy Shurtz, was placed on administrative leave due to wearing blackface for a Halloween costume party. Mixed reactions emerged from outrage or surprise at the swift reaction by the university.



Elizabeth Woody, of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, became Oregon’s Poet Laureate. She is recognized for her tribute to the lives and landscapes that shape the realities of American Indian life. She will share her works: Hand into Stone, Seven Hands Seven Hearts and Luminaries of the Humble to promote poetry. She proclaims: “I don’t care if people like it, I do it for the people who need my work.”



Senate Bill 13 required the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to develop curriculum relating to the Native American experience in Oregon, including tribal history, tribal sovereignty, culture, treaty rights, government, socioeconomic experiences, and current events.



South Albany High School finally changed its mascot name from “Rebels” to “RedHawks” after years of controversy with the “Johnny Rebel” mascot, a confederate soldier. The “Stars and Bars” Confederate Flag was displayed on campus until 1990 and even a new Confederate soldier became the image of the mascot at that time.



Racial slurs and harassment create unsafe environments for students at Oregon schools and sanctioned events. They are not isolated incidents. Men in the bleachers at St Helens High School yelled racist slurs at the Parkrose girls’ basketball players, including the “n-word” and made monkey noises and told them to go back to Africa and across the border. No one – parents, referees nor other students – said anything to these men nor urged them to stop. Woodburn girls’ soccer team was harassed by a group of boys who walked into the stadium waving a White Nationalist flag and yelling racial slurs. The girls were also viciously confronted by other students who called them “beaners – bitches”. Students at Portland’s Wilson, Franklin and Cleveland High Schools reported racial hate incidents. In a letter from Wilson students of Color they stated: “We don’t feel safe in a place where everywhere we go we are minority, facing hate and ignorance at every corner, with only a select group of teachers to support us.”

This is the end of the timeline from the Oregon Center for Educational Equity.


History is still being written. Look outside. Speak the truth. Black Lives Matter. 

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