The Oregon Social Justice Documentation Project

From the frontier myth of Oregon Trail pioneers settling the Willamette Valley’s fertile land to the popular sketch comedy show Portlandia, Oregon is – in many Americans’ view – a place of, for, and about white people. The reputation reflects the state’s long and complicated history of violence, discrimination, exploitation, and exclusion in the interest of creating what scholar Walidah Imarisha has called a “white utopia.” Yet the state’s history is also replete with the stories of people of color and the poor and working classes and their allies who, through negotiation, organization, and activism, sought to to build an alternative utopia characterized by robust democratic processes and by racial, social, and economic justice.

This site is a resource for engaging Oregon State University students in collecting and telling these stories. Here, you will find an eclectic collection of faculty-mentored student projects designed to engage public audiences, including K-12 teachers and students, in interpreting Oregon’s rich and complex past as well as to envision a more just present and future.


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