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Black History Month in Portland, Oregon

Black History Month 2024 is being celebrated across the country, and Portland is no different. This year’s theme for Black History Month is “African Americans and the Arts,” and the Portland Art Museum is displaying a “Black Artists of Oregon” exhibit. Oregon has a disappointing history of exclusion, which this exhibit acknowledges, and it brings together over 200 objects and the work of 69 artists to attempt to capture the Black diasporic experience in the Pacific Northwest from the 1880s through today. For those who are not local to the Pacific Northwest, the museum partnered with The Numberz FM to create a 6-episode podcast that’s available at the exhibit link above.

The local public library system in Portland, the Multnomah County Library, is also providing a number of ways for people to get involved with Black History Month. Opportunities include viewing historical photos in “Our Story: Portland through an African American Lens,” providing opportunities to explore Oregon’s Black History through links to online collections and resources, and several in-person library events.

The Albina neighborhood in Portland is the historic cultural hub of the city’s African American Community, and the Albina Vision Trust has an online four-part series exploring the history of the neighborhood. Each episode looks at a component of Albina’s past and compares it to the present-day work of new development and everything that comes along with that.

For those currently in the Portland area, consider taking a look at the in-person events that are available, from a free presentation at Alberta Abbey on “York, The Man,” to “The People’s Poets Black History Month Showcase,” and more. A partial list of live events can be found online and the celebration continues year-round, but please feel free to share other opportunities you may find!

When in Portland for MLA '24 (May 18-21, 2024), check out these must-visit black history spots.

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