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We are so excited to have our February forum to discuss the legacy of white supremacy and its impact on Black Americans in Oregon.
Each panelist brings a unique element to our American Black History conversation. To be clear, Black History is American history and it occurs 365 days a week. Most people are not aware of the origins of Black History Month, nor who is Carter G. Woodson, so please do a google search on both of these subjects prior to attending our forum.
Our panel will begin with Dr. Carmen Thompson, who is a scholar, historian, and author of the book, The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth- Century Virginia; she he was recently cited by the Oregon Supreme Court (follow this link and find her citation on page 642 in the footnotes.) Given the Black exclusionary laws and whites-only origins of Oregon, this will be a sobering reminder for anyone who believes or is unaware of Oregon’s violent, racist history.
Next, Intisar Abioto, a celebrated Black artist and archivist, will share her research about Beatrice Morrow Cannady, the first Black woman to graduate from an Oregon Law School (Northwestern Law now called Lewis and Clark Law). Ms Cannady was also an NAACP President and founding editor of the Black owned paper, The Advocate. Many of the issues she was covering in the early 1900s in Oregon remain at issue for Black people today. Bringing this story into present day, Ms. Abioto will share how she and her family were unsuccessful in their attempt to purchase and preserve the Cannady house; which ties to the long history of eminent domain and white supremacy in the form of bank loans as the main contributor to the severing and loss of culture and generational wealth in the Black community.
Finally, Kolby Ross, a Portland native who was a recent victim of targeted white supremacist violence will share his story and the challenges he has faced in getting our local District Attorney to file charges against a known affiliated white supremacist, who still remains free. His story brings Oregon’s violent and racist history into the present day, along with the acknowledgement that the recent ballot initiative to remove slavery from our state constitution was barely accomplished, Black people in Oregon continue to struggle and fight against white supremacy.