Celebrating the Contributions of Oregon’s African American Pioneers

We are very thankful to the Pioneer Trust Bank Foundation for their generous support of the Oregon Black Pioneers since 2005.

We invite you to become a sponsor
of OBP, and have your business logo & link prominently  displayed right here on our website!

Become an OBP Board Member!

If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors, please click to print out the volunteer form. Contact us to further discuss your skills and the needs of the organization.

Our Mission and Vision

The mission of the Oregon Black Pioneers Corporation, also doing business as Oregon African American Museum Project (OBP/OAAMP), is to research, recognize and commemorate the culture and heritage of African Americans in the State of Oregon. Our goal is to secure a place and forum in which this heritage can be shared with the greater public.

Our vision is to be the premier resource for Oregon’s African American culture and heritage information. We aspire to preserve this largely unknown and rich heritage and culture through collections and programs that promote scholarly research and public use. We envision becoming a center for study of Oregon’s African American life, heritage and culture.

Programs, Research and Development

The programs of Oregon Black Pioneers form the core of the organization’s ability to carry out it's mission of telling our story. Its components include: research and presentations to include oral, displays, exhibits and publishing.

Presentations and exhibits on Oregon’s Black history have been done in schools of all levels, historical organizations and museums, libraries, civic and social clubs, and state and federal organizations and institutions across the state. Please contact Gwen Carr, obpprograms@qwestoffice.net  to request our services. In 2015 the organization will open its third major exhibit at the Oregon History Museum in Portland.

Recent publications include: Perseverance: A History of African Americans In Oregon’s Marion and Polk Counties, published in 2011 and African Americans of Portland published in 2013.

A Community on the Move
February 1 – June 28, 2015

A Community on the Move is a groundbreaking exhibit about the courage and persistence of Portland’s black residents in the 1940s and early 1950s. This interactive exhibit will engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds as it traces how the WWII shipyards, migration from the South, the Vanport flood, and urban renewal projects affected Portland’s black families and businesses.

We Need Your Help!
Photographs, artifacts and memories

  • Did you work at the Kaiser shipyards?

  • Do you remember the Albina community of the 1940s and 50s?

  • Did you live in Vanport?

  • Did you experience the flood?

  • Were you or your family displaced by urban renewal plans during this period?

  • Were you involved in city planning efforts?

The Oregon Black Pioneers, in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office, launched the property survey project “Preserving Oregon’s African American Historic Places” in May.  Working with a community partners and volunteers, the organizations want to protect and preserve Oregon’s African American historic sites and places from 1844 to 1984. Committee partner Gwendolyn Trice, founder of Heritage Maxville Interpretive Center, commented that “rural counties have significant undocumented structures, places and cemeteries. Conversations are taking place in Eastern Oregon that are providing data that translates rich African American community architectures into historic record”.

Preserving Oregon African American Historic Places project is a crowd-sourced project that encourages the public to contribute information online that pertains to existing structures with any African American association in their histories and cemeteries with African American burials.  These places can be buildings anywhere in Oregon where African Americans worked, sites where important events happened, or objects created, installed, or inspired by African Americans. It is important to note that the data submission can include properties associated with the post-war period from the 1950 to the early 80s.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to Dec. 31, 2014.  You may submit your information online at www.makeoregonhistory.org.  Provide as much information as you can, but it is OK to leave blanks if you do not know the particular information requested. The information will be added to the collections of the Oregon Black Pioneers and the Oregon Historic Sites Database.

If you have any questions about the survey project you may email Moreland at historic_places@qwestoffice.net or Kuri Gill, Oregon Heritage, Grants and Outreach Coordinator at Kuri.Gill@oregon.gov. 

HISTORIC Photos shown above:
Rosa Marie Britton, Shiloh Baptist Church Gathering, First AME Zion Church and George Fletcher

Did you know?

That the year 1788 was the earliest recorded instance of a Black person setting foot on Oregon soil? His name was Marcus Lopez, a native of Cape Verde, who served as a cabin boy aboard the frigate, Lady Washington.






We have books available to purchase on African American Pioneers in Oregon

Click here . . .    

The mission of Oregon African American Museum, (OAAM) is to educate the public about African American history in Oregon by collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting material evidence of the African American experience.

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