The Role of the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon
I started researching the role of the Civil Rights Movement in Eugene with high hopes. Civil Rights as a subject is so large, and so well-covered nationally, that I figured sources would overflow. I knew that Oregon had a spotty history at best concerning the treatment of African Americans, but that knowledge lent me to expect a more fervent Civil Rights Movement in the area. As it turns out, racial oppression dates back to before Oregon became a state, when the Ku Klux Klan was a powerful force. The citizens of Oregon tried their utmost to keep African Americans away, so any Civil Rights Movement later contained mostly whites. Looking at the greater picture of Oregon as a whole, including the roles of Eugene, Portland and other cities, provides a clearer picture of the local Civil Rights Movement than studying any one city can. The role of the Movement was change, but it didn’t happen suddenly, and it grew out of a sordid history of discrimination.