Historic Photograph Collection

About this Collection

The Oregon Black Pioneers Historic Photograph Collection is a collection of over 200 photographs donated to Oregon Black Pioneers in 2018. The photos, which document the daily life of a Black family and their neighbors, were found beneath a stairwell in a home within the historically-Black Albina neighborhood of Portland. These photos provide rare visual evidence of the African American great migration, the wartime city of Vanport, and life within Portland’s Black community ca. 1940s-1970s.

Research has revealed that this collection originally belonged to McAlma “Lucille” Thomas Hastings (1912-1981). The people and precise locations seen each photo remain unidentified.

In Winter 2023, Oregon Black Pioneers partnered with Portland State University Center for Black Studies, Portland State University Special Collections and University Archives, and Oregon Historical Society to digitize this collection. The archival work was carried out by PSU students. A summary of this course was published as an article in the Summer 2023 edition of Oregon Historical Quarterly, titled “Documenting Black History in Portland, Oregon: Researching and Examining the Oregon Black Pioneers Historic Photograph Collection”.

The collection was debuted at a PSU Black Studies “Black Bag” lecture on March 22, 2023. Click here to watch a recording of this event.

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