Sundown Towns in Oregon Display, 2012
This Fall term Professor Jean Moule taught her course TCE 408H “Sundown Towns in Oregon” and she invited the OMA to be a part of the classroom experience!
Natalia, OMA Archivist, and Tiah, SCARC’s Instruction Archivist, worked with Professor Moule to design the course and acted as research consultants throughout the class. The two credit class began with a meeting in the SCARC 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 by James Loewen, we traveled to the coast to get hands-on archival research experience, and we designed a display for the Valley Library: “Sundown Towns in Oregon: Reflections on the Research Process”
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 Flickr Set
Want to learn more about Sundown Towns?
Check out Jim Loewen’s Sundown Towns website
Dates: Mid-November 2012 – Mid-December 2012
Location: OSU Valley Library, 5th Floor, across from the main elevators
Exhibit Curation: TCE 408H Students and Natalia Fernández, Oregon Multicultural Librarian
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Fascinating. I found myself wanting to read the PowerPoints! I seem to recall that Cottage Grove was another “sunset town” (as in, don’t let the sun set on your back) in the bad old days. The WPA guidebook, “Oregon — End of the Trail” has lots of interesting details about Oregon in the 1930s that can be enlightening, such as the slave quarters then still standing in Dallas, Oregon.
Thanks so much for your comments! Cottage Grove is not listed on Jim Loewen’s online list of Oregon towns http://sundown.afro.illinois.edu/sundowntownsshow.php?state=OR and he is always excited to compile information if you know of specific sources or leads for him to pursue.
This collaboration was an incredible learning project…for me as well as the students! Wonderful to complete our work with visible/easily sharable material.
Natalia, Very cool. I love learning things I never knew that reside in my own backyard. It definitely brings a new perspective to the way I view things. What a great project.