african-americans in Oregon

Recorded on: March 20, 2015

Air Date: March 23, 2015

A constant in the news these days are stories of unequal policing practices and inequitable educational and employment opportunities based on race and culture. These issues have an impact on all of us in the United States, in Oregon, and in Eugene.

Walidah Imarisha

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. We celebrate it at a time when Oregon's population is not quite two-percent African-American.  A Portland State University professor is criss-crossing the state asking this provocative question: Why aren't there more blacks in Oregon?

It was a bittersweet commemoration as a packed auditorium listened to the Northwest Freedom Singers and heard Portland State University professor Walidah Imarisha says that in the 1840's, Oregon became the only U.S. territory with a racial exclusion law: