Black in Oregon Exhibit on View in Portland for the First Time!

Black in Oregon: 1840–1870 on view at Pittock Mansion July 19 through November 13

For the first time in Portland, you have a chance to see Oregon Black Pioneers’ exhibit Black in Oregon: 1840–1870 at Pittock Mansion, July 19 through November 13. Despite explicit exclusion laws and implicit messages that Black people were not welcome in Oregon, early Black pioneers challenged the state’s discriminatory laws and laid the foundation for Oregon’s future Black communities. Many, like Robin and Polly Holmes, were enslaved and were brought to Oregon by their owners. Others, like Abner Hunt Francis and his brother Isaac, were free and chose to make the perilous overland journey in search of a better life. Black in Oregon illuminates these courageous stories and many more. Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

Black in Oregon: 1840-1870 tells the story of Oregon’s Black Exclusion era, and highlights the achievements of some of the Black pioneers who came to Oregon in spite of these laws. Originally installed at Oregon State Library, Black in Oregon has been traveling across rural communities since late 2020. It was displayed at Benton County History Museum in Philomath, then was exhibited on a rural libraries tour in Union, Harney, and Lake counties thanks to support from Roundhouse Foundation.

More information and tickets to Pittock Mansion here.


Portrait of Louisa T. Flowers (right) and unidentified woman, c. 1880-1900. (Oregon Historical Society )