• 117 Commercial St. NE, Ste. 210, Salem, OR 97301
  • (503) 540-4063
  • 117 Commercial St. NE, Ste. 210, Salem, OR 97301
  • (503) 540-4063
  • May 30, 2021 11:00 pm - May 31, 2021 02:00 am
  • Burns, Oregon
  • By

Memorial Headstone Unveiling for Martha and Walter Anderson


  • Rural Alliance for Diversity

Join Oregon Black Pioneers this Memorial Day weekend by helping us unveil a memorial!
We will be in Burns, Oregon for an informal community gathering and cookout to honor the Andersons, a family of true Black pioneers who will finally be recognized with headstones at their grave.

For over 40 years, brothers Walter and Oscar Anderson were some of the few, if not only, Black residents of Harney County. The brothers both established ranches in the county in the 1910s, Oscar on Trout Creek north of Burns, and Walter at Juniper Lake 90 miles further south. In Burns, the brothers were well known and respected community members. Walter married his wife Martha about 15 years after he began ranching in Harney County and the two spent another 25 years there before Walter’s poor health forced them to move to Portland. He died there in 1958. Martha lived until 1981, publishing the book Black Pioneers of the Northwest 1800-1918 just a year before her death. When Martha and Walter were both buried in the Burns Pioneers Cemetery in unmarked graves.

OBP learned of a campaign by local group Rural Alliance for Diversity to raise money for a headstone. OBP pitched in some funds of its own, and applied for a Small Project Grant from Roundhouse Foundation to support not just the headstone campaign’s completion, but also the costs of a Little Free Library in Martha Anderson’s honor.

There is no cost, but please contact us to let us know if you plan to attend – hello@oregonblackpioneers.org.

Sun. May 31 – 4:00 PM