Oregon Historical Society hosts fourth exhibition by the Oregon Black Pioneers.

COURTESY PHOTO - Black United Front leader Ron Herndon stands on a desk at a school board protest against the closure of Harriet Tubman Middle School on March 30, 1982. Photographed by Steve Nehl, Oregon Historical Society Research Library, Oregon Journal Collection.Racing to Change: Oregon's Civil Rights Years

WHERE: Oregon Historical Socciety, 1200 S.W. Park Ave, Portland

WHEN: Through June 24

HOURS: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

ADMISSION: $11. Discounts are available for students, seniors and youth. Free for OHS members and Multnomah County residents.


  • The Oregon Black Pioneers, an organization dedicated to the preservation of Oregon's African American heritage, unveiled its fourth exhibition at the Oregon Historical Society in downtown Portland on Martin Luther King Jr. Day earlier this week.

    On view through June 24, Racing to Change: Oregon's Civil Rights Years is a groundbreaking exhibit that details the courage, struggle, and progress of Oregon's Black residents during the 1960s and '70s, and the reverberation of those issues today.

    The interactive display traces the ways that discrimination practices affected Oregon's Black community and spurred the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon.

    "This exhibit addresses the challenges facing Oregon's African American community during the 1960s and '70s and highlights the events, people, and organizations that made up the Civil Rights movement during that era," said exhibit co-leader Gwen Carr. "It seeks to educate and engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds and challenge them to reflect on the current racial environment and make choices for positive change today."

    Through their exhibitions, the Oregon Black Pioneers work to educate individuals about the essential role that African Americans played in building the social, cultural and economic base of Oregon.

    "Our partnership with the Oregon Black Pioneers began in 2011, and since then OHS has been proud to host three exhibitions and many programs on the history of Oregon's Black community spanning from 1788 through 1950," said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. "Racing to Change continues this important partnership, sharing stories that are incredibly relevant today."

    Racing to Change showcases a period in Oregon and national history filled with cultural and social upheaval, conflict and change. It was also an era of celebration, experimentation and achievement for African Americans. Through the Civil Rights Movement, young people made their voices heard, and were propelled to be catalysts for change within their communities.

    This exhibition also shares how established, vibrant Black communities held together in the face of public works-funded demolition of homes and businesses, disruptive school integration measures, and other challenges.

    A variety of community programs willbe offered during the exhibit, including community dialogues between '60s and '70s activists and current activists; a program highlighting the campus activists' movement on various college campuses in Oregon; school tours; a free family day; and history talks by scholars and community elders.

    "We hope that visitors to this exhibit will be inspired by the efforts of national and local civil rights activists and ordinary people who sacrificed their time, talent, and sometimes their lives for socioeconomic change. Most of all, we hope to encourage visitors, through their own personal capacity, to contribute to the fight for justice, equity, and inclusion in their respective communities," said Kim Moreland, exhibit co-leader.

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