July – September, 2013


Who has the right to be a citizen? What does citizenship really mean? In the Oregon Historical Society’s “Summer of Citizenship,” join 10 of Oregon's most thought-provoking historians and civic leaders for a series of talks and discussions about a topic that is central to all of our lives.


Explore the history behind difficult questions that have defined our nation, including:


  • Why were native born American women forced to register as enemy aliens during World War I?
  • Why do tribes have their own courts and police?
  • What did Thomas Jefferson think about citizenship and expansion into the West?
  • How and why have Oregonians fought mandatory vaccination and fluoride consumption?
  • How have marginalized communities used the tools of democracy to demand full rights as citizens?


Each program takes place at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland) and is free for OHS members and costs $5 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased and reserved in advance online, or can be purchased at the door. Doors for evening lectures open at 6 PM so visitors can tour the museum’s latest exhibit “Windows on America.”


Apply your ticket towards at OHS membership!


You can apply the cost of all tickets purchased during the series towards an OHS membership at any point during the program’s run. Learn about the benefits of membership.


Series Schedule


Kimberly-Jensen“From Citizens to Enemy Aliens: Oregon Women, Marriage, and the Surveillance State during the First World War.”

Dr. Kimberly Jensen

Wednesday, July 10, 7 PM

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Federal legislation in effect from 1907 to 1922 required women who were U.S. citizens and then married men who were citizens of other nations to forfeit their U.S. citizenship and take on the civic status of their husbands. During the First World War, some 400 Oregon women became "enemy aliens" as a result of their marriage to German men in the state. Registered and kept under surveillance by state and local officials, many of the women resisted state actions against them and definitions of themselves as enemies and aliens. Their case challenged the idea of democracy at home at a time when the Wilson administration and many Americans believed that the United States was participating in a war to make the world safe for democracy.


Kimberly Jensen is Professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University and is the author of Oregon's Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life in Activism (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012).


Bob-Miller“Are American Indians Federal and State Citizens Today?”

Professor Robert J. Miller

Sunday, July 14, 2 PM

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American Indians are mentioned in the United States Constitution, and the Founding Fathers recognized that they were not American citizens or citizens of the states where they were located, but were instead citizens of their own indigenous governments. Starting in 1887, Congress began granting U.S. citizenship to some Indians under specific statutes. All Indians were finally made U.S. citizens in 1924, but the states took several decades to recognize Indians as state citizens. Professor Miller will explain this process and its continuing effect and controversy today.


Robert Miller is a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School and will be moving to the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in August. He is the Chief Justice of the Grand Ronde Tribe Court of Appeals and is a citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe. He is a board member of the Oregon Historical Society.


Bill-Lang“Citizens in the New West: Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase, and New Orleans”

Dr. William Lang

Wednesday, July 17, 12 PM

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When we think about the Louisiana Purchase, we usually think about the huge territory acquired from France in 1803, but there were many small stories as part of that acquisition – in some ways none more interesting that Jefferson’s idea for the city of New Orleans, the second most important port in America at the time. A story about slavery, wealth, and citizenship, Jefferson’s ideal New Orleans was impossible to match with reality.


Dr. William L. Lang is Professor Emeritus of History at Portland State University and the author or editor of over seven books of history on the American West. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Oregon Encyclopedia Editorial Board and is a board member of the Oregon Historical Society.


Preston-Pulliams“Citizenship Education and the American Civil Rights Movement”

Dr. Preston Pulliams

Tuesday, July 23, 7 PM

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Citizenship education played a significant role in the drive for voting rights and civil rights for African Americans.  For example, in the 1940’s Citizenship Schools were created in the South to increase African-American adult literacy and to empower African-American communities. These Citizenship Schools, by helping African-American Southerners learn to read, contributed to successful efforts for the right to vote and building the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement. Citizenship education continues to be a significant factor in the ongoing struggle for equality in America.


Dr. Preston Pulliams, who will retire as District President of Portland Community College in June 2013, has served in community college administrations for several decades and also has taught at the graduate and undergraduate level as well as in high schools, focusing on civics, psychology, and educational leadership.


Robert-Johnston“Democracy and the Politics of the Body: From Anti-Vaccination to Anti-Fluoridation in Oregon History”

Dr. Robert Johnston

Wednesday, August 7, 12 PM

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Oregon’s current anti-fluoridation movement has plenty of precedents in terms of popular concerns about the politics of the body. Citizens have long resisted mainstream views of public health, especially in regard to vaccination. Conventional ideas emphasize the danger and irrationality of those who fight the establishment, but Johnston sees such dissidents as—on the whole—wise and democratic.


Robert D. Johnston is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Teaching of History Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of The Radical Middle Class: Populist Democracy and the Question of Capitalism in Progressive Era Portland, Oregon and is at work on a history of controversies over vaccination in American history for Oxford University Press.


Andrew-Fisher"Speaking for the First Americans: Nipo Strongheart and the Campaign for American Indian Citizenship"

Dr. Andrew Fisher

Wednesday, August 14, 12 PM

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Nipo Strongheart, a showman of mixed Yakama and white ancestry, travelled the country during the 1920s as a professional lecturer, chautauqua performer, and field representative for the Society of American Indians. Fighting on two fronts – the cultural and the political – he joined other "Red Progressives" lobbying for reforms in federal Indian policy and full citizenship for the "First Americans." This talk, part of a larger study of Strongheart's life and career, uses his activism to explore questions of national belonging in a time of heated debate over the place of non-whites, new immigrants, and women within the United States.


Andrew Fisher grew up in Portland, attended the University of Oregon, and received his Ph.D. in History from Arizona State University. His first book, Shadow Tribe: The Making of Columbia River Indian Identity, examined off-reservation Native communities and tribal nation-building along the Mid-Columbia.


Barbara-Roberts"Voting: Inclusion. Exclusion. Confusion. Where does Oregon stand?"

Gov. Barbara Roberts

Sunday, August 18, 2 PM

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Former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts will give the audience a history lesson complete with "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in Oregon's voting past. As a former Secretary of State in charge of Oregon's voting system, she has experienced the state's more recent record of opening access to more and more voters. As a descendent of Oregon Trail pioneers, however, she is also keenly aware of the exclusionary voting past Oregon locked into the state's original constitution. She weaves these contradictions together and then measures Oregon's current voting laws and practices against our nation's 49 remaining states. Roberts's thirty years in elective office coupled with a decade directing programs on government leadership at Harvard University and Portland State University give her a broad perspective on voting laws and policy.


Pat-Young“Building Political Power: Stories from the Early Days of Gay Rights”

Pat Young

Wednesday, August 21, 12 PM

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Five dollars a plate for Spaghetti. Twenty five cents for buttons. 150 dollar donations to candidates who supported gay rights. A staff member sleeping on the office floor at night just in case someone called who needed help. These are some of the things that Portland Town Council did during the early days of gay rights in the late 1970s. By the mid 1980s, another gay rights group raised thousands of dollars and charged $100 a plate to attend a fundraising dinner. Lesbian lawyers won cases so gay parents could keep custody of their kids. Lesbians formed a vibrant culture with bookstores, softball, and women’s music. Then there was the backlash. Anti-gay ballot measures were sponsored by the Oregon Citizen’s Alliance with the slogan of “No Special Rights for Homosexuals.” That was then, but how times have changed as gay marriage is on the horizon.


For the past 19 years, the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN), housed at OHS, has been saving and collecting local gay history. Pat Young, who holds an M.A. in History from Portland State University, has been a member of GLAPN from the beginning. She will share stories about local gay history and the GLAPN collection.


Nichole-Maher“Making the Invisible Visible: Research and Advocacy on Behalf of Urban Communities”

Nichole Maher

Tuesday, September 3, 7 PM

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Although commonly described as one of the whitest cities in America, the Portland metro area is actually home to a wide array of diverse people of color, including communities of African Americans, African immigrants and refugees, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Latinos, Native Americans, and Slavic communities. Faced with a history of relocation, institutional racism, and complex relationships to citizenship, members of those communities in 2001 formed the Coalition of Communities of Color to increase political power and obtain self-determination by bringing to the public the data necessary to understand inequality and advance equity. Maher will discuss the communities’ complicated relationships to citizenship and how they have responded with research and advocacy.


Nichole Maher, a member of the Tlingit Tribe of Southeastern Alaska, is currently president and CEO of Northwest Health Foundation; she served as the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, Oregon, for over 11 years. She holds a Master’s in Public Health from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and two Bachelors of Science.


Marcela-Mendoza“Citizenship and Belonging in Uncertain Times”

By Dr. Marcela Mendoza

Sunday, September 15, 2 PM

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The sense of belonging, and also of feeling integrated into a nation and a culture, are much deeper and substantial than the fact of holding legal citizenship. Yet, the mixed assemblage of rights and responsibilities included in attaining citizenship has significant meaning for every person who chooses to obtain a new nationality. This talk will look deeply into civic integration, exploring the legal, cultural, and emotional aspects of citizenship and belonging through the lives of Latin American immigrants in the United States.


Dr. Marcela Mendoza serves as the Executive Director of Centro LatinoAmericano in Eugene and is an anthropologist with thirty years of experience in field research and academic teaching. With Erlinda Gonzales-Berry, she is the co-author of Mexicanos in Oregon.

Tom McCall
Oral Histories
Oregon History Project
Oregon Black History Series
Oregon History Day
Summer of Citizenship
Traveling Trunk Program
Mark O. Hatfield Distinguished Historians Forum