Cultural Demolition: What Was Lost When Eugene Razed its First Black Neighborhood?
In the 1940s, Eugene, Oregon's first African-American neighborhood took root on a riverbank north of the city. In 1949, county officials demolished the homes and church of the ad hoc community and relocated the residents. In the 21st century, no physical evidence of the former neighborhood remains, but the history continues to circulate among Eugene's contemporary African-American community. This thesis documents the history of Eugene's first black neighborhood, examines the roles that race and class played in its demolition, and develops recommendations for public commemoration. To do so, it critically examines methods of historic preservation and their relationship to sites of intangible history. Through an analysis of various models of commemoration, a multi-disciplinary approach emerges that may apply to similar sites.