TOO BLACK Workshop and Performance

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As part of the 35th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, the OMA was honored to collaborate with Diversity & Cultural Engagement, University Housing and Dining Services, and the School of History, Philosophy, & Religion, to organize the event “Speaking Justice” – a night of spoken word poetry by the OSU community and our feature artist, TOO BLACK, on Wednesday, January 18, 2017. And, in addition to the performance, the OMA was delighted to host the workshop “History of Race Relations at OSU” facilitated by TOO BLACK.

About TOO BLACK

TOO BLACK, a graduate of Ball State University, is a spoken word poet based in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The name TOO BLACK developed from wanting to challenge the perceptions of blackness and humanity in general.  Influenced by a wide variety of artists and historical figures from Malcolm X to George Carlin to Audre Lorde, TOO BLACK brings a versatile perspective to the stage. TOO BLACK has a working dialogue that draws from personal experiences, historical and current events, and utilizes Hip Hop as a way to relay his point.  He has a conversational performance style in which he is talks to the audience not at them.

TOO BLACK teaches a poetry workshop called named “Speech is My Hammer” to empower children and young adults to think critically about issues of social justice.  He is also apart of an Indianapolis based group called Axiom Collective.  It is a community of dedicated artists and educators committed to transforming communities through creative expression, civic participation and transformative art education.

TOO BLACK has been performing poetry professionally for four years.  He successfully launched his own college tour called Education Redefined 101: Tips, Fees, and Degrees.  ER 101 has provided an opportunity for TOO BLACK to perform at a wide variety of colleges and universities including UCLA, Boston College, and Penn State University among many more.

Overall, TOO BLACK has featured and headlined venues throughout the country in 16 states including the historical Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, Jus Words in Philadelphia, Soul Speaks in Chicago, and Busboys & Poets in D.C.  In 2015 he was featured in AfroPunk online magazine.  He has been fortunate enough to open for black panther legends such as Elaine Brown and Erika Huggins as well as starring in a tribute show to honor the late Gil Scott-Heron.

TOO BLACK website and TOO BLACK Twitter

The Workshop

In the workshop, facilitated by TOO BLACK, participants learned about the history of race relations at OSU and its connections to contemporary issues. In his presentation “Today is yesterday” TOO BLACK shared his experiences from a recent visit to South Africa and connected it to an early 1980s protest and educational campaign led by the OSU African Students’ Association in response to wrestling coach Dale Thomas’ association with the South African wrestling community; the history is documented in the Ed Ferguson Oregon Anti-Apartheid Scrapbook. Through his facilitation, workshop participants connected the anti-apartheid student activism that occurred on campus to a number of contemporary issues: race relations at OSU today, our national context, what is currently occurring politically in South Africa, and the complex relationship between sports and politics.

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TOO BLACK’s presentation “Today is yesterday”

As part of the workshop, participants created their own spoken word poetry – and one participant even performed as part of the evening’s event! TOO BLACK explained propaganda and counter-propaganda, and how spoken-word poetry can be a form of counter-propaganda.

  • Propaganda: “the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist” ~ Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell
  • Counter-Propaganda: “carefully prepared answers to false propaganda with the purpose of refuting the disinformation and undermining the propagandist.” ~ Herbert Romerstein

Workshop participants were asked to:

Write a poem/create a form of art that represents counter-propaganda towards a particular social justice issue while tying the past to the present

Examples of counter-propaganda topics:

  • Black-on-Black crime has nothing to do with police brutality
  • White people did not discover humanity
  • Poor people work just as hard as rich people
  • Latinx – Americans should learn Spanish
  • LGBTQ – you can’t convert the way you were born (Conversion therapy)
  • All identities intersect
Workshop participants working on their poems

Workshop participants working on their poems

Workshop participants sharing their work with one another

Workshop participants sharing their work with one another

The Performance

The performance took place in the Memorial Union Lounge and there were over 100 students, Faculty/Staff, and community members in attendance. The evening began with Brandi Douglas, of UHDS and one of the event organizers, welcoming all in attendance and with introductions to the students who shared their spoken word poetry. The students expressed their personal social justice struggles beautifully, and the first part of the evening closed with Douglas’ own poem which included audience participation.

TOO BLACK’s performance included about a half dozen poems ranging in topics from apartheid and imperialism, student debt, police killings of black men, capitalism, and more. His presence was memorizing and his words were incredibly moving. Afterwards, he not only had an opportunity for a Q & A, he stayed late to share his book of poems – students lined up to purchase their very own signed copy.

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Radio Movimiento Interview

radio-movimientoThe OMA was on Radio Movimiento as part of its Dinos Quién Eres, Lazos Universitarios OSU series! The series, which airs every second Wednesday of the month, focuses on showing the stories of leaders and people from OSU’s Latino community and the work they carry out to improve their community. Radio Movimiento is community radio station operated by PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste). KPCN-LP began airing on August 18, 2006. The OMA interviewed aired December 14, 2016 and is available online. In it Natalia Fernández, OMA curator and archivist talks about her childhood, her university experiences, and work as an archivist.

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Interview Description (the interview is in Spanish)

Hoy conoceremos a Natalia Fernández, hija de padres Cubanos, quienes llegaron exiliados de Cuba en los años 50. Natalia paso la mayor parte de su vida en Tucson Arizona en donde sus padres se establecieron cuando ella tenía 5 años. Natalia curso su educación primaria, secundaria y preparatoria en Tucson Arizona y posteriormente estudio en la Universidad de Arizona en donde obtuvo su licenciatura en Historia de Arte y Literatura Española. Después, obtuvo su maestría en Información Recursos y ciencia de la biblioteca (Information Resources and Library Science) de la misma Universidad de Arizona. Natalia enfatiza que, el tener el apoyo de sus padres, para ella fue muy importante para poder lograr sus metas académicas. Ella nos dice que la comunicación honesta con los padres es muy importante. El expresar las preocupaciones, las indecisiones y los planes, a los padres o a las personas que sirven como tal, es esencial para obtener una guía y apoyo fuerte que impulsen a obtener las metas académicas y personales. Natalia ahora trabaja como Archivista para el Archivo Multicultural de Oregon, de La Universidad del Estado de Oregon (Oregon State University). Para Natalia el ser Archivista es un trabajo gratificante, ya que; el documentar las historias de las diferentes comunidades y culturas que existen en Oregon le han hecho descubrir un mundo que ella no conocía.

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ES 351 Fall Term 2016 Class Poster Session

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This fall term the OMA hosted the students of Professor Daniel López-Cevallos’ ethnic studies course ES 351 “Ethnic Minorities in Oregon” for a session on the collections and histories available for them to use as part of their class projects. At the end of the term, the students returned to the archives to give poster presentations about their research. The students’ topics of study included: the IRCO Asian Family Center, Chinese Disinterment in Oregon, Mexican Immigration in Oregon, the Oregon – and OSU – Japanese Exclusion and Executive Order 9066, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Chinese Miners in Oregon.

ES 351 Course Description:

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ES 351 Course Objectives:

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Check out the photos of the ES 351 Fall Term 2016 Class Poster Session below!

IRCO Asian Family Center

OMA collections used: IRCO Asian Family Center Oral History Collection and the OSU Asian and Pacific Cultural Center Records

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Chinese Disinterment in Oregon

OMA Collection Used: Oregon Chinese Disinterment Documents digital collection

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Mexican Immigration in Oregon

OMA Collections Used: Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers and the Braceros in Oregon Photograph Collection

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The Oregon – and OSU – Japanese Exclusion and Executive Order 9066

OMA Collections Used: Various pertaining to OSU’s Japanese American Students During WWII

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Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

OMA Related Collections Used: The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde newspaper, Smoke Signals, 1978-present, available via the Oregon Historic Newspapers Project

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Chinese Miners in Oregon

OMA Related Collections Used: Various articles within The Oregon Encyclopedia

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The OMA at the Oregon Migrations Symposium

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The OMA was delighted to give a presentation on one of its current projects, the Latinos en Oregón oral history project, at the Oregon Migrations Symposium on November 17, 2016, at the University of Oregon in Eugene. It was a full day of amazing presentations with a kick off event occurring the evening before featuring a number of public history projects. The OMA’s presentation “Latinos en Oregón: Stories of Migration and Settlement in Madras, Oregon” is available online, so be sure to check it out!

More information on the symposium and the list of presenters can be found below:

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Wednesday, November 16

  • Panel Discussion: Migration Public History with Gwen Trice (Maxville Heritage Interpretive Center), Gabriela Martínez (Latino Roots), Suenn Ho (Garden of Surging Waves), and Jackie Peterson-Loomis, on Beyond the Gate: A Tale of Portland’s Historic Chinatowns

Thursday, November 17

  • Welcome and Oregon Immigration Overview with Dr. Bob Bussel and Dr. Dan Tichenor

Panel 1

  • Lynn Stephen, “Guatemalan Mam Refugees in Oregon: Women and Children Finding a New Life in the Northwest”
  • Natalia Fernández, “Latinos en Oregón: sus voces, sus historias, su herencia” [The OMA!]
  • Carol Silverman, “Roma (Gypsies) in Oregon: A Hidden History”

Panel 2

  • Bill Lang, “1850’s Crucible: Oregon Migrant Re-settlers, Native People, and Creating a New Society”
  • Rebecca Dobkins, “Contemporary Access to Ancestral Lands in Oregon for the purpose of Traditional Plant Harvest: Addressing the History of Dispossession”

Panel 3

  • Brown-Bag Lunch and Panel Discussion — “In the Shadow of the 2016 Election: Immigration Debates in Oregon and Beyond,” with Dr. Kim Williams, Portland State University; Andrea Williams, CAUSA; and Phil Carrasco, Grupo Latino de Acción Directa (GLAD); moderated by Dr. Dan Tichenor

Panel 4

  • Ryan Dearinger, “Hop-Picking Cultures in Oregon:  Reaping Exclusion out of Diversity”
  • Jo Ogden, “The Telling Case of Bhagat Singh Thind”
  • Mario Sifuentez, “Ethnic Mexican Labor and the Post-WWII Pacific Northwest”

Closing

  • Wrap Up and Reflection with Dr. Bob Bussel and Dr. Dan Tichenor

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“Occupying Margins” A Panel Discussion on Gender

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“This panel aims to spotlight the lived experiences of non-binary/genderqueer/gender non-conforming folx who live beyond the gender binary”

As part of Trans Awareness Week on OSU’s campus, SOL and the Pride Center hosted an event entitled “Occupying Margins: A Panel Discussion on Gender” in which three OSU students—Tara, Malik, and Vickie—spoke about their personal experiences with gender, as well larger impressions of the topic. During the event, the panelists answered pre-decided question as well as queries from the audience. A wide array of issues were addressed, including South Asian poetry duo Dark Matter and their argument that if you are a person of color, queer, differently abled, neuro-diverse, low-income, etc. you already do not fit the definition of “man” or “woman.” The three describe their vision for working towards a society that cherishes these trans and non-binary genders and relationships, rather than just “accepting” non-binary people. In addition, the group explores the ways in which the definition of gender can be expanded and improved by acknowledging histories and legacies of slavery and colonization. All of the panelists stress the need for difficult conversations, and interventions that make others question their harmful assumptions. They explain that this includes talking to strangers, standing up for your friends, and fostering dialogue with family members.

A longer summary of the panel, and corresponding time stamps for the video, can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this post.

Panelists: Tara Crochett, Malik Ensley, Vickie Zeller
Moderator: Samantha Wood
Date: November 14, 2016
Location: OSU Centro Cultural César Chávez

Link to Recording of “Occupying Margins” A Panel Discussion on Gender

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This event was part of OSU’s Transgender Awareness Week 2016

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As part of Trans Awareness Week on OSU’s campus, SOL and the Pride Center hosted an event entitled “Occupying Margins: A Panel Discussion on Gender” in which three OSU students—Tara, Malik, and Vickie—spoke about their personal experiences with gender, as well larger impressions of the topic. In the recording of this event, the panelists begin by introducing themselves, stating their name, pronouns, and what the last thing they posted on social media was. The first question asked of the panelists by the moderator was, “What do identities that fall outside the binary look like to you and what do they say?” (00:02:21) Malik begins by stating that these identities take many forms, and are expressed differently and uniquely by each individual, meaning that non-binary folks can look like anyone. Malik points out that there exists a misled assumption that non-binary and/or trans people are inherently white, able-bodied, skinny and fashionable. Tara adds that non-binary folks are not always visible, often for safety reasons, and the panelists discuss the various cultural barriers that can impact the way these identities are talked about.

In the second question, the panelists are asked, “How do you view non-binary identities in terms of ‘trans’?” (00:08:40) Vickie responds in saying that trans is an umbrella term, and explains the various identities that fall under that umbrella. However, Malik and Tara add that there needs to be critique of such umbrella terms, because it can often erase some of the identities it is meant to encompass, thus making it more difficult to identify as such. Malik outlines the ways in which many who identify as trans, or underneath the umbrella of trans, may not wish to transition, but how there is often pressure to do so. In addition to seconding Malik’s resistance to dominant trans narratives, Tara differentiates between gender identity and gender expression. Vickie wraps up the question by asking why they are pressured to present themselves in a certain way in order to have their non-binary identity validated.

For the third question, the panel moderator asks, “How do you feel about the way gender is defined in mainstream feminism? How can we improve and expand this definition?” (00:19:15) Malik begins by saying that for them, “mainstream” feminism and White feminism are one in the same, defining White feminism as a movement that is not intersectional. They stress the importance of asking who the categories of “man” and “woman” are made for, and who were they made around? The panelists discuss an argument made by queer South Asian poetry duo Dark Matter that if you are a person of color, queer, differently abled, neuro-diverse, low-income, etc. you already do not fit the definition of “man” or “woman.” The panelists discuss their vision that rather than working towards “accepting” non-binary people, we should instead work towards cherishing these relationships and these identities. In addition, the group explores the ways in which the definition of gender can be expanded and improved by acknowledging histories and legacies of slavery and colonization. Tara ends by providing an example of how mainstream definitions of gender hurt activist work, using a Trump protest they attended as an example of the ways gender non-conforming people get erased with phrases like “pussy grabs back” and “her body her choice” that prioritize the needs of white cis women.

In the fourth segment of the panel, the participants answer the question, “How does this ‘in-between’ identity complicate the other ways you identify?” (00:30:00) Tara explains that as someone who identifies as both mixed-race and non-binary, they have experienced feeling a sense of in-between or that they were a “watered-down version” of a particular identity. At the same time, they explain that they have begun to come to terms with their identities, but also recognize the simultaneous privilege and erasure that occurs with such “in-between” experiences. Malik expands on this, noting that because of the narrative of hyper-masculinity forced on black men, Malik sees that their relationships are complicated greatly by gender identity, sexuality, and romantic identity. The panelists discuss the need to ask themselves when they want to put themselves out there, when they can disclose their true identity, when do they come out with their gender pronouns, and how all of these questions are complicated by intersecting identities.

Next, the moderator asks, “Why are panels like these important? Why does sharing experiences have so much power?” (00:39:29) Vickie explains that panels of this nature give a sense of community, making a space to share experiences allows for growth and support. Malik agrees that panels can provide necessary connection, and can be helpful for people to understand the struggles experienced by others. However, they also explain that we need to get to a place where we don’t have to meet a physical person to feel connected to their pain, and want to do something to fix the structures that impact them. To prove why sharing experiences is so powerful, Malik describes interactions they have had with their young students, and how these conversations have challenged the binary ways of thinking into which children are commonly indoctrinated. The panelists also discuss the importance of visibility, and the need to recognize the QTPOC work that has already been accomplished which allows for panels like these today—making these conversations a way of honoring the hard work that has been done in the past.

Following this discussion, the panelists are asked to provide a call to action with the question, “How can we support identities that are beyond the gender binary? How do you want people to support you?” (00:47:45) All of the panelists stress the need for difficult conversations, and interventions that make others question their harmful assumptions. They explain that this includes talking to strangers, standing up for your friends, and fostering dialogue with family members. Importantly, Tara acknowledges that it is best to start these dialogues in spaces where one has privilege that can, to some extent, protect against potential backlash. Malik also mentions the need for everyone to always introduce their pronouns, regardless of the individual’s identity, and to respect other people’s pronouns in a number of different ways. Malik ends by advising the audience, and their fellow panelists, to always try to “do a little better than yesterday.”

In the last question, the panelists are asked, “Do you have any tips for people who are struggling with their gender identity, and how to explore that?” (00:58:14) Malik repeats the importance of conversation mentioned in the previous discussion topic. They suggest to talk about their struggles with others who will be supportive and to additionally focus on verbalizing what they do know, and spend less time grappling with what they don’t know. Tara draws on a quote they read in the Pride Center bathroom book in saying, “Know that you don’t have to fix the world” (01:01:20). Vickie adds to the discussion by explaining that not all people need conversation for support, and suggests listening to the stories of others and using the internet as a resource for those that are “internal processors.” The panelists spend the last 15 minutes responding to audience questions (01:05:11) and comments, and wrapping up the discussion. The panel ends on a positive note (01:23:15), with panelists and attendees articulating their gender in unique and creative ways (i.e. my gender is “masculine wild child”).

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The OMA and OSQA in the SCARC exhibit “Catching Stories: The Oral History Tradition at OSU”

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i-pad app featuring OMA and OSQA oral history interviews

This year the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center curated a new exhibit featuring its oral history program – and the hundreds of interviews within its collections – and the OMA and OSQA were highlighted!

Horner Collection and OSU 150

Horner Collection and OSU 150

Cultural Communities, Natural Resources, and History of Science

Cultural Communities, Natural Resources, and History of Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibit Information:

Title: “Catching Stories: The Oral History Tradition at Oregon State University ”
Dates: November 2016 – March 2017
Location: Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center exhibit foyer
Curators: Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Chris Petersen, and Natalia Fernandez, OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center

SCARC OH Program

SCARC OH Program

For more information about SCARC Oral History Program, check out the website below:

SCARC Oral History Program

Exhibit Special Features – Listening Stations with Clips of Interviewees’ Stories

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i-pad listening station

TV listening station

TV listening station

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Listening Stations!

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 OMA and OSQA

The Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA) and OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) pro-actively reach out to African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and Native American communities, as well as LGBTQ+ people within OSU and Corvallis, to add their voices to the archives. In addition, both the OMA and OSQA collaborate with local community members and OSU students on projects to train them to conduct interviews and become active participants in creating a more diverse and inclusive historical record.

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The “Cultural Communities” aka OMA and OSQA section of the exhibit

Oral history collections within the OMA include the stories of Japanese Americans living in Lane County (OH 15); African American railroad porters who were employed in Oregon during the 1940s and 1950s (OH 29); staff members of the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization Asian Family Center in Portland (OH 30); members of the Latino/a community in central Oregon, Yamhill County, and the town of Canby (OH 32); staff of the Milagro theatre in Portland (OH 31); and interviews with members of the Coquille and Siletz tribes (OH 12). Another OMA collection is the OSU Cultural Centers Oral History Collection (OH 21) that documents the work-related as well as personal experience of staff members from various cultural centers.

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The general OMA oral history collection (OH 18) interviews include, but are not limited to: an interview with a family who lived at Colegio César Chávez during the late 1970s/early 1980s; individual interviews with Rev. Alcena Boozer and Carl Deiz, two long time African American Portland residents; a three-part interview with Dr. Jean Moule, OSU College of Education Emeritus Professor; a student panel featuring the stories of first generation college students; and interviews with some of OSU’s first black men’s basketball and football team players. The OSQA oral history collection (OH 34), created in 2015, includes the voices of staff of OSU’s Pride Center and the organization SOL, as well as a set of interviews featuring LGBTQ+ 1990s and 2000s Benton County area activists and community members.

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Glitter in the Archives!

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Today, OSQA hosted its first ever crafting event as part of OSU’s Queer History Month celebrations. We supplied attendees with copies of archival materials, including images from the Pride Center records, old event flyers, After 8 materials, and of course, glitter! One of the main goals of this event was to use archival materials as a way to imagine queer futures, particularly as they pertain to OSU and the surrounding community. Some absolutely fabulous art was created, and many of the artists generously donated their pieces to OSQA.

A flickr set of Glitter in the Archives!

Event Photos! (Check out the flickr set for more images)

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Amazing art created by attendees and donated to the archive.

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Tables full of fun craft supplies!

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Attendees unleashing their creativity.

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Taste of the ‘Chives 2016: Obo Addy’s Hot and Spicy Cookbook

Taste of the 'Chives 2016Today was SCARC’s annual Taste of the ‘Chives! This year we used the Hot and Spicy Cookbook from the Obo Addy Legacy Project (OALP) archival collection – and the dishes were delicious. We also used the event as an opportunity to launch the Obo Addy Legacy Project i-book, co-authored by the OALP, the OMA, and Mike Jager, i-book creator extraordinaire. The i-book is available via the i-tunes store and is free to download. See below for event photos and lots of links to check out!

A flickr set of Taste of the ‘Chives 2016

More blog posts about the OALP

“Archives and the Arts: Showcasing the Histories of Communities of Color” ~ an article about the i-book project

Event Photos! (be sure to view the flickr set for more)

Taste of the 'Chives 2016

Taste of the ‘Chives 2016

Recipes from the Hot and Spicy Cookbook

Recipes from the Hot and Spicy Cookbook

Susan Addy with the OALP i-book

Susan Addy with the OALP i-book

Mike Jager, i-book co-author, showing attendees how to use the i-book

Mike Jager, i-book co-author, showing attendees how to use the i-book

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Hear the Stories: Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection

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The OMA just hosted the first of SCARC’s 2016 Archives Month events and we have it recorded for you to view online! “Hear the Stories: Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection” featured the oral historian, filmmaker, and educator, Michael “Chappie” Grice sharing the stories of Oregon’s African American railroad porters, including his personal experiences.

All of the oral histories are available online:

Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection Project Website

The event was recorded and is also available online:

“Hear the Stories” ~ A presentation by Michael Grice

And, below are photos from the event:

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Michael Grice showing a photo of various railroad porters

Collection materials for event attendees to peruse

Collection materials for event attendees to peruse

Mr. Grice with Hope Glenn, the interviewer transcriber

Mr. Grice with Hope Glenn, the interviewer transcriber

An event attendee listening to one of the oral histories

An event attendee listening to one of the oral histories

Mr. Grice answering an attendee's question

Mr. Grice answering an attendee’s question

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The Urban League of Portland’s 2016 Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner

ULPDX EODD 2016

ULPDX EODD 2016

Another amazing Urban League of Portland Equal Opportunity Day Dinner! Each year the ULPDX and community members come together to celebrate the organization’s work to help to empower African Americans and other Oregonians to achieve equality in education, employment, and economic security. The event began with a performance by Okropong of the Obo Addy Legacy Project, continued on with great speeches, and concluded with the ceremony for this year’s award winner Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives. And, as we do each year, the OMA brought a sample of materials from the ULPDX collection for attendees to view.

Check out the images below!

Remarks by ULPDX President and CEO Nkenge Harmon Johnson

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The OMA Display of the Urban League of Portland’s archival collection

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The Urban League of Portland Archival Collection

Okropong of the Obo Addy Legacy Project Performance

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