Avel Louise Gordly, the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate, begins her book, Remembering the Power of Words, with an epigraph from poet Audre Lorde:
“While we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”
That words have power is a constant undercurrent in Gordly’s memoir and a truth she learned early in her life. “Growing up, finding my own voice,” she writes, “was tied up with denying my voice or having it forcefully rejected.” For too long black voices have been diminished in America. Today, amidst the widespread outrage and sorrow over the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and other victims of police brutality, it’s time to amplify those voices.
OSU Press stands in solidarity with all who fight for racial justice. To help Oregonians better understand our state’s long history of racial exclusion, white supremacy, and efforts at resistance, we recommend the following books and resources.
Black Woman in Green: Gloria Brown and the Unmarked Trail to Forest Service Leadership by Gloria D. Brown and Donna L. Sinclair
Remembering the Power of Words: The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader by Avel Louise Gordly with Patricia A. Schechter
This is Not For You: A Memoir by Richard Brown and Brian Benson (forthcoming, Spring 2021)
History of Black Exclusion and Racism in Oregon
Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in Oregon by R. Gregory Nokes
The Color of Night: Race, Railroaders, and Murder in the Wartime West by Max G. Geier
Dangerous Subjects: James D. Saules and the Rise of Black Exclusion in Oregon by Kenneth R. Coleman
A Force for Change: Beatrice Morrow Cannady and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Oregon, 1912-1936 by Kimberley Mangun
Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz, 1942-1957 by Robert Dietsche
The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett: Oregon Pioneer and First Governor of California by R. Gregory Nokes
Association of University Presses, “Statement on Equity and Anti-racism”
Oregon Historical Society, “History is who we are and why we are the way we are”
OSU President Edward Ray, “After another tragedy, it’s time to make real change a priority”
Black Woman in Green
From an unlikely beginning as an agency transcriptionist in her hometown of Washington, DC, Gloria Brown became the first African American woman to attain the...
The Troubled Life of Peter Burnett
Few people in the nineteenth-century American West could boast the achievements of Peter Burnett. He helped organize the first major wagon train to the Oregon...
WINNER OF THE OREGON BOOK AWARD Dangerous Subjects describes the life and times of James D. Saules, a Black sailor who was shipwrecked off the...
The Color of Night
When they were brought to Oregon in 1844, Missouri slaves Robin and Polly Holmes and their children were promised freedom in exchange for helping develop...
A Force for Change
A Force for Change is the first full-length study of the life and work of one of Oregon’s most dynamic civil rights activists, African American...
Remembering the Power of Words
Remembering the Power of Words recounts the personal and professional journey of Avel Gordly, the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate. The...
A fascinating blend of music, politics, and social history, Jumptown sheds light on a time and place overlooked by histories of Portland and jazz. For...