IN OREGON HISTORY2020-07-31T16:45:14-07:00

History of Racism in Oregon

As we work towards racial justice, it is important that we understand the history of racism within our own state. Here are some key points to know:

  • In 1844, when slavery was banned in Oregon, all African Americans were told to leave the territory. Any black person remaining would be flogged publicly every six months until he left.
  • In 1857, Oregon adopted a state constitution that banned black people from coming to the state, residing in the state, or holding property in the state.
  • In 1859, upon entering the union, Oregon was the only state that explicitly forbade black people from living in its borders.
  • In 1919, the Realty Board of Portland approved a Code of Ethics forbidding realtors and bankers from selling or giving loans to minorities for properties located in white neighborhoods.
  • In 1922, the governor was elected with the vocal support of the KKK, and photos in the local paper showed the Portland chief of police, sheriff, district attorney, U.S. attorney, and mayor posing with Klansmen, accompanied by an article saying the men were taking advice from the Klan.
  • In 1959, it finally ratified the 15th Amendment, which gave black people the right to vote.
  • In 1973, Oregon finally ratified the 14th Amendment—the Equal Protection Clause.
  • Today, Portland is the whitest big city in America.


Racing to Change

Portland: Race Against the Past

Black families were pushed out of Portland

Japanese Americans In Oregon