Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Portland in November 1961, giving speeches at a number of venues around town. He spoke about Freedom Riders, segregation, and fair-housing policies. During the tour, King attended a gathering of Black faith leaders at the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in North Portland. Seven years later, this would be the site of large memorial services for Dr. King following his assassination. The church remains active in the community to this day. The building was added to the National Registry of Historical Places in 2016.
On the second anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling against school segregation, Dr. King gave a sermon at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. He said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle.”
Let’s not forget that we’ve still got a long way to go.
Here are a few ways to honor Dr. King, to learn, to be an ally, to work toward change…
World Arts Foundation, Inc. is streaming “Bridge Over Troubled Water” A tribute to King’s life and legacy.
Explore the Civil Rights archives available online at the Multnomah County Library to learn more about Oregon’s Civil Rights Story.
Portland State University is hosting a handful of panels as part of their MLK: Living the Legacy Series. Register to join via Zoom or tune in later this week when they will be streaming.
The following museums are closed due to Covid-19, but they offer online resources and exhibits. Be sure to set aside time for a visit once we are through the pandemic.
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is features the exhibit Discrimination and Resistance, An Oregon Primer. They also have a virtual exhibit, Good Trouble, inspired by John Lewis.
The Oregon Historical Society is offering a virtual exhibit called Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years presented by the Oregon Black Pioneers. The site also offers educational resources for school-aged children.