This Fall term Professor Jean Moule again taught her course TCE 408H “Sundown Towns in Oregon” and she invited the OMA to be a part of the classroom experience!
Natalia Fernández, OMA Archivist, worked with Professor Moule to co-teach the course. The two credit class began with a meeting in the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center reading room with an introduction to archives and archival research. Over the course of the next two months we met to discuss the book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James Loewen, we talked with OSU Press author R. Gregory Nokes about his research process for his book Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, we traveled to the State Archives in Salem for a tour and hands-on archival research experience, and we co-curated a display for the Valley Library: “Sundown Towns in Oregon: Researching a Hidden Dimension of Oregonian Racism”
So, what is a Sundown Town?
A Sundown Town is “any organized jurisdiction that for decades kept African Americans or other groups from living in it and thus “all-white” on purpose…from about 1890 – 1968, white Americans established thousands of towns across the United States” (Sundown Towns, 4)
And, why is knowing about and understanding Sundown Towns important?
“Recovering the memory of the increasing oppression of African Americans during the first half of the twentieth century can deepen our understanding of the role racism has played in our society and continued to play today” (Sundown Towns, 16)
Photos of the Display and More Information about Sundown Towns is available through the Sundown Towns in Oregon Fall 2013 Flickr Set
And, 3 of the 4 student’s final reports have been added to OSU’s ScholarsArchive:
Want to learn more about Sundown Towns?
Check out Jim Loewen’s website: Sundown Towns http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/sundowntowns.php
And, be sure to see last year’s display: Fall 2012 Sundown Towns Display
Dates: December 2013 – January 2014
Location: OSU Valley Library, 5th Floor across from the main elevators
Exhibit Curation and Design: TCE 408H Class and Natalia Fernández, Oregon Multicultural Librarian