News White Utopia-Oregon's Racist History

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by MutteringJohn, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. MutteringJohn

    MutteringJohn Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,463
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,182
    Likes Received:
    15,014
    When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.

    Waddles Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon was a popular restaurant in the 1950s for both locals and travelers alike. The drive-in catered to America’s postwar obsession with car culture, allowing people to get coffee and a slice of pie without even leaving their vehicle. But if you happened to be black, the owners of Waddles implored you to keep on driving. The restaurant had a sign outside with a very clear message: “White Trade Only — Please.”

    It’s the kind of scene from the 1950s that’s so hard for many Americans to imagine happening outside of the Jim Crow South. How could a progressive, northern city like Portland have allowed a restaurant to exclude non-white patrons? This had to be an anomaly, right? In reality it was far too common in Oregon, a state that was explicitly founded as a kind of white utopia.


    America’s history of racial discrimination is most commonly taught as a southern issue. That’s certainly how I learned about it while going to Minnesota public schools in the 1980s and 90s. White people outside of the South seem to learn about the Civil War and civil rights movements from an incredibly safe (and often judgmental) distance.

    Racism was generally framed as something that happened in the past and almost always “down there.” We learned about the struggles for racial equality in cities like Birmingham and Selma and Montgomery. But what about the racism of Portland, Oregon, a city that is still overwhelmingly white? The struggles there were just as intense — though they are rarely identified in the history books.

    According to Oregon’s founding constitution, black people were not permitted to live in the state. And that held true until 1926. The small number of black people already living in the state in 1859, when it was admitted to the Union, were sometimes allowed to stay, but the next century of segregation and terrorism at the hands of angry racists made it clear that they were not welcome.



    Today, while 13 percent of Americans are black, just 2 percent of Oregon’s population is black. This is not some accident of history. It’s a product of oppressive laws and everyday actions that deliberately excluded non-white people from a fair shot at living a life without additional obstacles being put in their way.


    Of course, the discrimination didn’t stop after the decline of the Klan. White restaurants still wouldn’t serve black people in Portland, black people weren’t allowed in the city’s swimming pools, and the local skating rink set aside a day for black people. This was as late as the early 1960s.

    “I do remember the signs downtown: ‘We don’t serve Negroes, Jews or dogs’,” one man recounts in a 1999 documentary from Oregon Public TVtitled Local Color. The signs were everywhere. And they spanned over two world wars. War attracted soldiers from out of town, both black and white. Their arrival naturally led to resentment from soldiers who were used to a more tolerant atmosphere than Oregon provided.

    The Oregon Daily Journal reported on some black soldiers from California who in the summer of 1918 were angered by a sign they saw in the window of a restaurant in Portland. The sign read, “We employ white help and cater to white trade only.” The soldiers entered the restaurant and destroyed the sign. Similarly in 1943, soldiers going off to fight in World War II saw signs in Portland and were outraged.

    The segregation in Portland was as stark as anything in the Jim Crow-era South. And Portland’s bizarre dearth of black people (bizarre to outsiders who were unaware of the climate) really came to a head during World War II, when an influx of black workers came looking for the plentiful jobs offered by the Kaiser Shipyards.

    “Portland was called the most segregated city north of the Mason-Dixon line,” Imarisha tells me. “And so the question became where would these [newly arrived black workers] go? Suddenly you have tens of thousands of black folks pouring in when in Portland there was only one tiny neighborhood called the Albina neighborhood that was already overfull with about 2,500 black folks.”

    The company worked with the city to create Vanport, an enormous new housing development halfway between Vancouver, Washington and Portland — thus the name Vanport.

    “At its height there was 100,000 people there and it was 40 percent black, which for anything to be 40 percent black in Oregon was astounding, Imarisha explains. “Vanport was built incredibly shoddily because it was never meant to last.”

    This temporary insta-town would become Oregon’s second largest city, second only to Portland during the second World War.

    “In fact the housing authority in Portland called it a blight and wanted Vanport obliterated. And in 1948 they got their wish when Vanport was completely flooded.” Imarisha says. Amazingly, the flooding actually started modestly and people had time to leave. But Portland officials insisted that there was nothing to worry about when the first cracks started letting water into the community.

    “Remember: Dikes are safe at present,” a bulletin from the Portland Housing Authority read on May 30, 1948. “You will be warned if necessary. You will have time to leave. Don’t get excited.”

    People were not warned in time and the city was flooded as the dikes fully gave way. Fifteen people would die in the floods. Less than two weeks later President Truman would travel to Vanport to see the extent of the damage firsthand.

    “Because it was made with shoddy material, houses literally washed away off their foundations. All of Vanport was destroyed and about 18,000 people who were living there were left homeless.”
     
  2. HorsetoothBeth

    HorsetoothBeth Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    80,801
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,056
    Likes Received:
    16,383
    Don't be jealous of my state.
     
  3. Walygatr

    Walygatr Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    73,763
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2011
    Messages:
    5,907
    Likes Received:
    16,972
    Being a native I have only 2 words. "Weed stores"

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Slow

    Slow My name is my name DawgShed News

    Reputations:
    332,785
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,769
    Likes Received:
    47,228
    Note to self, move to oregon
     
    BethWeave, Wiggy, sino8r and 14 others like this.
  5. MutteringJohn

    MutteringJohn Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,463
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,182
    Likes Received:
    15,014
    You always think of Montana, Idaho and North Dakota as white outposts, never Oregon.
     
    jackieavenger likes this.
  6. HorsetoothBeth

    HorsetoothBeth Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    80,801
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,056
    Likes Received:
    16,383
    It is wonderful here most days.
     
    sumiyoshi and Scarlett Ohara like this.
  7. HorsetoothBeth

    HorsetoothBeth Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    80,801
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,056
    Likes Received:
    16,383
    It's our little secret and you just blew it.
    Thanks.
     
    sino8r, Dirty South and Nemo like this.
  8. Slow

    Slow My name is my name DawgShed News

    Reputations:
    332,785
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,769
    Likes Received:
    47,228
    Remember the jailblazers? I bet they loved Rasheed Wallace.
     
  9. MutteringJohn

    MutteringJohn Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    63,463
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    13,182
    Likes Received:
    15,014
    I think blacks who left the Jim Crow south with idea of getting on the Oregon trail got as far as East St Louis and said fuck it!
     
  10. The Snork

    The Snork Well-Known Member VIP Gold

    Reputations:
    3,689
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    5,569
    Likes Received:
    8,707

    Well that's just Oregon's loss then err... :dontknow:
     
  11. Magnus

    Magnus Member

    Reputations:
    159
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    48
    JustLurking, Wiggy, reno and 3 others like this.
  12. Big Biscuit

    Big Biscuit Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    87,018
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,035
    Likes Received:
    4,324
    Oregon wasn't really "Oregon" until the hipsters found Portland about 20 years ago. The Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon are two different countries.
     
    HorsetoothBeth likes this.
  13. Apple the cat

    Apple the cat Moral conscience of the Shed

    Reputations:
    88,746
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,343
    Likes Received:
    6,197
    As a funny footnote to this, I've met Clyde of Clyde's Prime Rib- he's black, BTW....
     
  14. MadWoman777

    MadWoman777 Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    34,647
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,795
    Likes Received:
    5,699
    How is living in Portland? Is the weather better than in Seattle? I'm curious since I may have a job interview for a company based there soon.
     
    HorsetoothBeth likes this.
  15. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

    Reputations:
    240,580
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2012
    Messages:
    38,718
    Likes Received:
    39,455
    After the Civil war, and even before it, free blacks were run out of many towns in the North.

    Biggest chapter of the KKK in the 1920s, during its big resurgence? Why the racist southern state of.....INDIANA!

    It's leader was convicted of raping and murdering a woman. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._C._Stephenson

    He was good buddies with the Governor there in racist free Indiana.

    250,000, or MORE THAN ONE THIRD OF ALL ADULT MALES in the state were in the Klan.

    They had 100,000 "klan families" attend a 4th of July party in 1923. We had 7 guys in hoods get laughed at on the courthouse steps here in Cumming GA in the 1980's once.
     
    Captain and Scarlett Ohara like this.
  16. Magnus

    Magnus Member

    Reputations:
    159
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    48

    That's true!
     
  17. Bristol Chicken

    Bristol Chicken Free Range and Loving It Gold

    Reputations:
    159,140
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2013
    Messages:
    3,619
    Likes Received:
    13,709
    [​IMG]
     
    Fuzz Nuts and Cunt like this.
  18. YinzerMasshole

    YinzerMasshole VIP Extreme Gold

    Reputations:
    78,741
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2014
    Messages:
    3,738
    Likes Received:
    8,105
    Oregon: California's Canada... Or Washington Jr.

    Idaho: Mississippi West
     
    Captain and SalsMasterShake like this.
  19. HorsetoothBeth

    HorsetoothBeth Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    80,801
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,056
    Likes Received:
    16,383
    The winters tend to be milder than Seattle. I say that, but we woke up to an inch of ice this morning and had a bit of snow yesterday...but nothing serious. Get a set of studded tires and you'll be just fine here.
     
    MadWoman777 likes this.
  20. HorsetoothBeth

    HorsetoothBeth Well-Known Member

    Reputations:
    80,801
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    7,056
    Likes Received:
    16,383
    Very true. I have a black neighbor but you will find very few black people outside of Portland and zero to the east.