2020 Joel Palmer Award

Winner:

“We were at our journey’s end”: Settler Sovereignty Formation in Oregon (Winter 2019)
by Katrine Barber

When Esther Bell Hanna migrated to Oregon Territory in September 1852 and documented in her diary her first glimpse of the Columbia River, “she looked out over a landscape that contained relationships both legible and illegible to her.” In this research article, Barber explores those relationships through the lens of settler colonialism and White supremacy that “alienated Indigenous people from their lands through ordinary acts of fencing and plowing fields” and “disorganized terror and calculated war.” Barber also discusses acts of disruption and resistance to White supremacy, and argues that “to grapple with the foundations, legacies, and persistent characteristics of settler colonialism and its twin — White supremacy — is to grapple with the inequities that shape Oregon’s history, present, and future in ways both symbolic and material.”

Honorable Mentions

White Right and Labor Organizing in Oregon’s “Hindu City” (Winter 2019)
by Johanna Ogden

In March 1910, anti-Indian violence erupted in St. John’s, then a city just outside Portland, Oregon, perpetrated by a crowd of two hundred White laborers joined by the mayor, police chief, and two police officers. While the 1910 St. Johns riot is not well known, Johanna Ogden situates it within a growing anti-Asian movement along the West coast that “rocked towns from California to British Columbia and targeted Indian, Japanese, and Chinese shopkeepers and laborers.” The Indians fought back the night of the riot and, with the backing of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and the British Consulate, demanded prosecution of the rioters. Ogden provides an account of the riot and how the Indian community in the region “became a center of anti-colonial organizing” in forming Ghadar, a global movement to free India from British rule.

Liberty Ships and Jim Crow Shipyards: Racial Discrimination in Kaiser’s Portland Shipyards, 1940–1945 (Winter 2019)
by John Linder

During World War II, the Black population Portland-Vancouver region in Oregon grew tenfold. New arrivals sought work in war industries, particularly in the three large Kaiser Company shipyards where a majority of skilled jobs were under the jurisdiction of the Local 72 of the Boilermakers Union, which refused to admit Black members. John Linder describes how during a time when shipyards needed skilled workers, “qualified Black workers were consigned to laboring jobs or forced to join a segregated and powerless ‘auxiliary local’.” Linder’s article sheds light on some of that systemic discrimination reinforced by corporations and ignored by the federal government that has had lasting effects into the present. It also highlights that “significant victories were won by Black workers and organizers who relied on mass action rather than the promises and proclamations of government and company officials.