PSU Portland Civil Rights Project- Portland African American History and the Making of Portland’s Albina Neighborhood- part 1

Posted on December 22, 2008

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Fall 2008 Term, I took a class at Portland State University from first time instructor Felicia Williams called Recording Portland Civil Rights History. We did extensive historical research and conducted oral history interviews with African Americans in Portland who were active in the civil rights movement. We are in the process of creating an archive of these oral history interviews at Portland State University Library. Also, we made a 30 minute documentary about the civil rights movement in Portland with photos from our narrators (those whose oral histories we recorded for the archive) as well as photos we found through our research. In addition, there are quotes from our narrators, detailing their experiences of discrimination in employment, housing, and education, and the their struggle against du jure and de factor discrimination in Portland.

Also, Felicia is planning to work on a website modeling the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project website http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/– for her second run at this course Summer 2009 Term.

Here is the script and I will add updates about how to access a copy of the documentary once completed. I have also included excerpts from the syllabus at the beginning so you can see what research we did…

 

UNST 421-509: Recording Portland’s Civil Rights History

Fall 2008

Instructor: Felicia Williams, fwilliam@pdx.edu

Course Description: The Civil Rights movement changed the way people thought about race and equal opportunity in America.  This course will examine how the movement happened in Portland as students record oral histories from people who fought for civil rights in Oregon.  There will be a total of three interviews: one unrecorded pre-interview, one two-hour interview, and one follow up one-hour interview.  The interviews will then be transcribed, indexed, and archived and copies of all materials provided to the narrators.   Students will also use photographs and clips from the interviews to create a video documentary that will be presented publicly and can be used in the future as a teaching tool.

Community Partner: The African American Alliance (AAA) is a community group committed to furthering African American concerns with local and state officials, as well as promoting business and cultural ties within the community.  Members of the AAA are supporting this project by participating as narrators and referring other potential narrators.

 Course Goals and Objectives:

-Become familiar with the basic principles and practices of oral history fieldwork, as well as learning the strengths and limitations of oral histories

-Learn about the ethical responsibilities researchers have when working with people who are still alive and the impact their research can have

-Learn how to do primary source research and the importance of oral histories in scholarly work

-Gain practical experience in recording oral histories and making them archive ready, as well as learning ways in which oral histories can be used

-Work collaboratively in creating an historical resource that can be used in a wide range of settings and by a variety of people; this will include using iMovie to create a documentary.

-Learn the importance of ethnic minorities in shaping both local and national history through the fight for Civil Rights

 Academic Research/Reading List:

City Club of Portland Report.  “Portland’s Civil Rights Ordinance.”  Walter B. Moore, Chair.  31, no. 20 (1950): 5 pages. (handout)

 “The Negro in Portland: A Progress Report 1945-57.” E. Kimbark MacColl, Chair. 37, no. 46 (1957): 16 pages. (available through PSU Library website)

“Problems of Racial Justice in Portland.” Richard W. Nahstoll, Chair.  49, no. 2 (1968):  63 pages. (available through PSU Library website)

 “Racial Integration-Desegregation Issue in the Portland Public Schools.” Ron Lansing, Chair.  60, no. 56 (1980):  40 pages. (handout)

 Deiz, Mercedes.  Interviewed by Linda Brody Dodds for the US District Court Historical  Society.  Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (1981): 46 pages. SR 1256  (OHS)

 Gibson, Karen.  “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940 -2001.” Transforming Anthropology 15, no. 1 (2007): 3-25  (Anthrosource)

 Haggerty, Ancer L. Interviewed by Clark Hansen for the US District Court Historical Society. Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (2005-06): 89 pages.  (handout)

 Katz, Michael B., Mark J. Stern, and Jamie J. Fader.  “The New African American Inequality.”  Journal of American History 92, no. 1, (2005): 75-108.  (History Cooperative)

 McElderry, Stuart, “Building a West Coast Ghetto: African American Housing in Portland, 1910-1960.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 92, no. 3 (2001): 137 – 148. (PSU Library)

 Ritchie, Donald A.  Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pgs.  51-56 “Legal Concerns” and pgs. 57-84 “Conducting Interviews” (handout)

Roosevelt, Robinson. Interviewed by Clark Hansen for the US District Court Historical Society.  Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (2004): 129 pages (tapes at OHS and interview handout) SR 1285.1

Taylor, Quintard.  “The Civil Rights Movement in the American West: Black Protest in Seattle, 1960-1970.” The Journal of Negro History 80, no. 1 (1995): 1-14. (JSTOR)

Yow, Valerie Raleigh.  Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 2nd ed.  New York: Altamira Press, 2005.  “Preparing for the Interview” pgs. 68-90, “Interviewing Techniques” pgs. 92-118, “Legalities and Ethics” pgs. 121-152, “Interpersonal Relations in the Interview” pgs. 157-183. (handout)

 Methods of Assessment:

Students will be graded on their completion of the assigned tasks, including reading summaries, completing the oral history interview and making it archive ready, thank you letter for narrator, and submitting a five minute clip for the class documentary.  There are no tests or quizzes in this course.

Archive Ready Interview, including interview file notes:              50%

Documentary Clip:                                                                                25%

Weekly Reading Summaries                                                                10%

Attendance and Participation:                                                            10%

Practice Interview                                                                                  5%

Week 1:

Sept 29:  Introduction to the course and Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project website http://depts.washington.edu/civilr/

 Oct. 1: Film in class: Local Color

City Club of Portland Report.  “Portland’s Civil Rights Ordinance.”  Walter B. Moore, Chair. 31, no. 20 (1950): 5 pages. (handout)

City Club of Portland Report.  “The Negro in Portland: A Progress Report 1945-57.” E. Kimbark

MacColl, Chair. 37, no. 46 (1957): 16 pages. (available through PSU Library website)

 Week 2:

October 6:  McElderry, Stuart, “Building a West Coast Ghetto: African American Housing in Portland, 1910-1960.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 92, no. 3 (2001): 137 – 148. (PSU Library)

City Club of Portland Report. “Problems of Racial Justice in Portland.” Richard W. Nahstoll, Chair.  49, no. 2 (1968):  63 pages. (available through PSU Library website)

 October 8: Taylor, Quintard.  “The Civil Rights Movement in the American West: Black Protest in Seattle, 1960-1970.” The Journal of Negro History 80, no. 1 (1995): 1-14. (JSTOR)

City Club of Portland Report. “Racial Integration-Desegregation Issue in the Portland Public Schools.” Ron Lansing, Chair.  60, no. 56 (1980):  40 pages. (handout)

Prof. Quintard Taylor Lecture: Wednesday October 8, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Portland State University’s Multicultural Center

 Week 3:

October 13: Gibson, Karen.  “Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940 -2001.” Transforming Anthropology 15, no. 1 (2007): 3-25  (handout)

Katz, Michael B., Mark J. Stern, and Jamie J. Fader.  “The New African American Inequality.”  Journal of American History 92, no. 1, (2005): 75-108.  (History Cooperative)

 October 15: Ritchie, Donald A.  Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pgs.  51-56 “Legal Concerns” and pgs. 57-84 “Conducting Interviews” (handout)

Yow, Valerie Raleigh.  Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences. 2nd ed.  New York: Altamira Press, 2005.  “Preparing for the Interview” pgs. 68-90, “Interviewing Techniques” pgs. 92-118, “Legalities and Ethics” pgs. 121-152, “Interpersonal Relations in the Interview” pgs. 157-183. (handout)

 Week 4:

October 20:  Deiz, Mercedes.  Interviewed by Linda Brody Dodds for the US District Court Historical Society.  Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (1981): 46 pages. SR 1256  (OHS)

Haggerty, Ancer L. Interviewed by Clark Hansen for the US District Court Historical Society. Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (2005-06): 89 pages.  (handout)

Roosevelt, Robinson. Interviewed by Clark Hansen for the US District Court Historical Society.  Archived at the Oregon Historical Society.  (2004): 129 pages SR 1285.1 (Tapes at OHS and transcript will be handed out)

 October 22: Practice interviews with fellow classmates.

 Week 5: Begin Interviews with African American Narrators in the Community

October 27: Practice interviews and interview questions.

October 29: Practice interviews and interview questions.

Begin interviews.

Week 6:

November 3: Interviews and transcribing.  In class handouts on transcribing, editing and indexing. 

November 5: Interviews and transcribing

Week 7:

November 10: Interviews. Transcribing, editing, and indexing

November 12: Interviews. Transcribing, editing, and indexing

Week 8:  Finish Interviews this week.

November 17: iMovie and documentary

November 19: iMovie and documentary

Week 9:

November 24: iMovie and documentary

November 26: No Class, Thanksgiving

Week 10:

December 1: iMovie and documentary

December 3: Public presentation of documentary – location TBA.

 

Look at Part 2 for the “PSU Portland Civil Rights Project” documentary script-

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