The Oregon Historical Society will feature exhibits, lectures and public programs as part of its year-long Oregon Black History Series.
The Oregon History Museum will open "All Aboard! Railroading and Portland's Black Community" on Jan. 15.
Created by the Oregon Black Pioneers, the new interactive exhibit will focus on the work and lives of the African-American community that grew up around Portland's Union Station from the 1800s to 1940s.
Visitors will learn about the various jobs that were available to black people working for the railroad and experience the sights and sounds of community life during that era.
Visitors will learn more about the establishment of African-American-owned businesses, churches and other social institutions within the context of Oregon's racial history.
The exhibit content will also feature a video entitled Black Families and the Railroad produced by Portland's Michael "Chappie" Grice that highlights the lives of Portland's railroad workers.
In addition, visitors will have a rare opportunity to sit at a newspaper binder and read remnants of historical black newspapers (New Age, Advocate and Portland Times) that were established as early as 1896.
Visitors will be able to take a picture with a Pullman Porter or in front of platform backdrop of the Union Pacific's Portland Rose, once herald as "A triumph in train comfort."
A community advisory committee consisting of former railroad men, the children of former railroad men and local historians has enhanced the exhibit planning through their expertise and personal knowledge of railroad history, as well as generous use of their historical artifacts and family collections.
The Oregon History Museum at the Oregon Historical Society is located at 1200 S.W. Park Ave. in downtown Portland. The museum will be open and free to all on Monday, Jan. 21, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
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