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Reflecting on Oregon's History

February 22, 2012

Force for Change coverRemembering cover"It is a gift to look back and unpack everything in between then and now and reflect aloud. How many of us get to do that before we become dust?" —Avel Louise Gordly

The theme of this year’s African American History Month, “Honoring Black Women in American Culture and History,” is an irresistible opportunity to highlight two books that tell the story of significant women in Oregon's history.

Remembering the Power of Words recounts the personal and professional journey of Avel Louise Gordly, the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon Senate. (Note: On February 27, Gordly will be among the honorees at the First Annual Black History Makers event at Portland Prime Restaurant.)

Kimberley Mangun's A Force for Change, winner of a WILLA Award, explores the life and work of African American journalist Beatrice Morrow Cannady, one of Oregon's most dynamic civil rights activists. The Oregon Historical Society's African American History Month page includes a link to a photograph of Beatrice Morrow Cannady. The Oregon Encyclopedia also has an informative page on Cannady—and both sites have many more resources to explore.

Here at Oregon State University, the Oregon Multicultural Archives has created a month-long physical exhibit featuring the Urban League of Portland, an organization with which Avel Louise Gordly has long been involved. If you can’t visit the Valley Library to see it in person, the Digital Collection in Flickr includes a wonderful collection of photographs. (Their display last year focused on the BSU 1969 Walkout. The archives also holds oral histories collected from OSU basketball players Charlie White and Norm Monroe.)

Other books of interest from OSU Press:

Jumptown cover waging war cover

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