Lecture     Series: Fair Housing Act 50th Anniversary

Housing Segregation and Resistance in Portland, Oregon: Notes from New Research

Free and open to the public
Sunday, April 8, 2018
2PM – 3:30PM

  • Free
  • Teachers
  • Researchers

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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Event Type: LectureAudience(s): Teachers, ResearchersLocation: Portland

Inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act and the publication of Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, local researchers are uncovering and analyzing new sources related to the history of housing segregation — and resistance to that discrimination — in Portland, Oregon. Through a roundtable of short presentations, the audience will learn about the Black community’s creative tactics in resistance to housing discrimination, how the City of Portland used zoning to promote segregation or integration, ways Portland laws and policies created and enforced de jure racial segregation, and how private homeowners, developers, and realtors supported segregation through restrictive covenants in housing deeds.

Ability Accommodation Information

This event provides the following accommodations:

  • Handicap Accessible

Fair Housing Act 50th

Greta Smith is the educational programing and outreach director for the Vanport Mosaic and a masters candidate in Portland State University's public history program. Her work researching restrictive covenants in the Portland area is part of a partnership between PSU and the City of Portland, who will use the research findings to do an analysis of how restrictive covenants have served to present an impediment to housing for people of color over the longterm. She is originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma and has been in Portland since 2009.

Melissa Lang is Public Historian and Secretary of the NAACP Portland Branch. At the cross section of history and contemporary racial justice activism Melissa seeks to interrupt traditional lenses on our regional history that focus on narratives of white communities. She’s currently working on her Master’s thesis, which examines the role of women in Portland’s Civil Rights Movement using the Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection at Portland State University Archives. Melissa holds a strong belief that our history belongs to everyone and that a historian’s work should cultivate opportunities for communities to tell their own stories. As a Public Historian she explores the ways in which art, history, and social justice together can build a deeper perspective on our contemporary lives.

Leanne Serbulo earned a doctorate in Urban Studies and Planning with specializations in community development and urban social movements.  She is faculty member in Portland State University’s award-winning general studies program where she teaches interdisciplinary freshman and sophomore inquiry courses.  Leanne’s research focuses on the construction of racial and social inequality in contemporary cities and the resistance to it.  She has published articles on the history of police/community relations in Portland, the impacts of gentrification on inner Northeast Portland neighborhood public schools, and the interaction between police and protesters in Pacific Northwest cities in the decade leading-up to the WTO protests in 1999.  She is currently working on a history of school choice policies in Portland Public Schools and the impacts those policies had on the racial and economic segregation of students.

Dr. Carmen P. Thompson is an adjunct instructor of Black Studies and African American History at Portland State University and at Portland Community College.  Since 2009, Dr. Thompson has taught a wide range of courses on the Black experience, including American slavery, Black feminism, and race and racism.  In 2004, Dr. Thompson obtained a Master’s of Arts from the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University in New York and her PhD in U.S. History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  Her research interests include the history of slavery and the slave trade in the New World and Pre-colonial West Africa, early African American history, race and ethnicity in early America, and the Great Migration.