Five Facts ✋ about the Black Exclusion and Lash Laws 😠, plus historic and viral 🎥 videos you need to watch

When most people think of American cities that are progressive about equality and civil rights, one of the first cities that comes to mind is Portland. But has Portland acknowledged its racist history? Do a search on YouTube for “Racism in Portland Oregon” and “Racism in Oregon” and there is proof that ignorance prevails.

We’ve put together a list of videos that will make you smarter about Black history in Oregon. Let’s jump on this knowledge.

Did you know that

  1. the same law that outlawed slavery also became the Black Exclusion Law in Oregon?
  2. that when Oregon became a state,  it didn’t become a slave state or free state, it became a no-Blacks-allowed state.
  3. Portland was the only state to do this.
  4. in the Black Exclusion Law – that said Black people were not allowed to live in Oregon – was the Lash Law, that said Black people would be publicly whipped every six months up to 39 lashes until they left the state.
  5. the Lash Law – despite the Black community coming to Portland over and over again, asking that it be remove – remained in the constitution until 2001?

Even if you know all those facts, how much more do you really know about the facts surrounding racism in Oregon? And what can you do with your new found knowledge?

Here are some videos we recommend you watch so you can raise your awareness – and, hopefully – share that awareness with others.

  1. Portland: Race Against the Past
    What happened in Charlottesville proves that America has a white supremacy problem. What happened in Portland explains it.
  2. There is a darker history in Oregon’s past.
  3. Black exclusion laws and Oregon’s racist history
    Educator and writer Walidah Imarisha discusses Oregon’s racist history, including Black exclusion laws that sought to discourage and prohibit Black settlers from moving to Oregon.
  4. Portland home deeds hide racist past
    Exclusionary language is hidden in many Portland home deeds. Racist covenants were used to create segregated neighborhoods across the city.
  5. A Community Conversation – we want to listen to and elevate voices from the Black community as we have conversations about racism, police brutality and what we need to change.
  6. March 1981 Portland Oregon racist incident. Opossum footage archived from VHS In 1981, Portland police threw three dead possums at the front door of The Burger Barn, a popular Black hangout on NE Union Avenue. This prompted protest marches throughout Portland.
  7. Lew Frederick is a state senator, former KGW reporter, a past teacher and grew up playing with Martin Luther King Junior’s kids. But he knows the only thing too many people see is the color of his skin. Here’s his story.
  8. Reimagine Oregon Project announces plan to dismantle systemic racism in Oregon
  9. Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon? A Hidden History
  10. Tracking white supremacy movement in Oregon
  11. The history of racism in Southern Oregon
  12. Race in Oregon History, A Historical Perspective
  13. In Portland, Oregon, a program called Right to Return aims to atone for the repeated displacement of thousands of African-American families from the city. Amna Nawaz and producer Mike Fritz explore how it’s all playing out, as part of our series Chasing the Dream.
  14. Is Justice Blind? Racism in Oregon’s Criminal Justice System


Photo credit: Alex Motoc