Online exhibits and resources on the life, history, neighborhoods, and important places of Portland’s Black community

The Golden West building. Photo by Intisar Abioto.

  • The Acknowledging the Past, Embracing the Future exhibit tells the story of the Elliot Neighborhood and Legacy Emanuel hospital’s role in the 1960s and ’70s razing of nearly 300 mostly African American-owned homes and businesses in the neighborhood. 
  • The History of the Golden West 1906-1931 tells a social and ethnic story of the vibrant African-American community in Portland in the early 1900s and the successes and challenges of its residents.
  • Oregon Black Pioneers and the Oregon Historical Society present an exhibit, Racing to Change, which illuminates the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Vanport Mosaic offers oral histories, exhibits and more to “amplify, honor, present, and preserve the silenced histories.”
  • Alberta Main Street provides a brief history of Alberta Street and neighborhood resources. 
  • Multnomah County Library has a Black Resources Collection with a specific Black Pacific Northwest Collection.
  • A Hidden History by Oregon Humanities illustrates wrongs done to Black people and other people of color and showcases “communities of color as active agents in their destinies.”
  • Portland State University’s Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection, 1880s-1980s documents three generations of the Rutherford family and one hundred years of African American community life and culture in Oregon.
  • Design+Culture Lab provides a unique service that serves as the glue between disadvantaged community members and urban practitioners within the construction of their environment.

The AHC has worked with Portland’s Black community for decades. Founding Director Cathy Galbraith led an effort to document the places in Portland that were historically significant to the Black community, which culminated in the publishing of Cornerstones of Community: Building of Portland’s African American History. Building on this work, the AHC partnered with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to draft a National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation (MPD) form for African American resources in Portland, which has been submitted to the National Register of Historic Places for final approval and listing. Accompanying the MPD, and also under review, is a National Register nomination for Billy Webb Elks Lodge (Williams Avenue YWCA), a gathering space for various African American social, political, educational, and civil rights groups from 1926-1973. A draft of the MPD form for African American Resources is available for public review.