OPB’s “Oregon’s Black Pioneers” wins Regional Emmy Award

On June 6th, the Northwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Science, popularly known as the Emmy’s, named its award recipients for programs produced in 2019. The award for Best Historical/Cultural Program Special went to the “Oregon’s Black Pioneers” episode of Oregon Experience, a public television show produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).

Oregon Experience’s “Oregon’s Black Pioneers” episode is a half hour exploration of the earliest Black settlers in Oregon, both free and enslaved. Historical photos and interviews with experts reveal stories of the African-Americans who lived, worked and created communities in the Pacific Northwest despite legal barriers that limited their freedoms. In spite of these hardships, Oregon’s earliest Black residents built lives for themselves and their families in the state and thrived in a variety of industries.

“Oregon’s Black PIoneers” was produced by Kami Horton. The episode features interviews by Oregon Black Pioneers Board Members Willie Richardson and Gwen Carr, as well as Emeritus Board Member Darrell Millner. Original research by Oregon Black Pioneers was instrumental in the creation of this program special.

The Northwest Chapter of NATAS recognizes achievements in original television programming in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. This year marked the organization’s 57th year, though the annual Northwest Regional Emmy Award Show had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. “Oregon’s Black Pioneers” was OPB’s only Emmy award winning production for the year.


Oregon Black Pioneers was founded in 1993. Its mission is to research, recognize, and commemorate the culture and heritage of African Americans in the State of Oregon. Its vision is to be the premier resource for information about Oregon’s African American culture and heritage. For more information please contact zachary@oregonblackpioneers.org.