Celebrating the life and work of Avel Louise Gordly

March 23rd, 2022 , Posted by Marty Brown

On March 30 at noon, we hope you’ll join us for a virtual celebration of Avel Louise Gordly’s 75th birthday. This Woman’s History Month event will feature readings from Avel Gordly’s memoir, Remembering the Power of Words, co-written with Patricia Schechter. A longtime Portland activist and community leader, Gordly was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate. In appreciation of her accomplishments, the Portland City Council will proclaim March 30 as “Avel Gordly Day.”

Avel Gordly Birthday Celebration


Reading from Gordly’s memoir will be special guests  S. Renee Mitchell, Antoinette Myers Perry, and Latricia Tillman. Books will be available for sale through Third Eye Books and Gifts, Portland’s only Black-owned bookstore. To register, visit beav.es/wfU.

The event will also be the fundraising kick-off for the Avel Louise Gordly Scholarship for Oregon Black Women. Dedicated to advancing the legacy of this outstanding leader, activist, and organizer, the fund seeks to raise a million dollars to award four years of support to African American women graduates of Oregon high schools. Scholarships can be used at any Oregon institution of higher education or at one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the US. Donations can be made through the Oregon Community Foundation.

“As a legislator, advocate, teacher, and author, Avel has worked tirelessly to end inequality by bringing people together in search of positive solutions,” said Patricia Schechter, who with Carmen Thompson, established the scholarship. “This new fund is a tribute to her accomplishments, as well as an urgent and necessary investment in African American women at a critical juncture in Oregon and US history.”

The Zoom event is hosted by the Portland State University Department of History, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program at Oregon State University, and OSU Press.

Related Titles

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...

| paperback | $18.95

Sign Up for Our Newsletter