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News Release
Cover of the Winter 2019 special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly on
Cover of the Winter 2019 special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly on "White Supremacy and Resistance"
Oregon Historical Society Offers Special Issue of its Scholarly Journal on "White Supremacy & Resistance" Free Online - 02/19/21

Now in its third printing, the special Winter 2019 issue of the Oregon Historical Society’s Oregon Historical Quarterly is dedicated to discussing the painful ramifications of White supremacy in Oregon as well as highlighting those who have led resistance efforts throughout history.

Portland, OR — In a blog post published on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) announced that its special issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ), “White Supremacy & Resistance,” is now available as a free resource online. Readers can now download each of the twelve articles separately, read a PDF of the issue as a whole, and explore the primary-document interludes that follow each of the articles that illustrate the effects of White supremacy throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries at ohs.org/ohqresistance.

Since its publication in December 2019, the issue has proven the most popular in the Quarterly’s over 120 year history. The initial printing sold out in six weeks, and this second sell out is a testament to the issue’s ongoing relevance. While the issue is now free to access online, print copies will soon be available in the OHS Museum Store for $15, with all proceeds supporting the OHS mission. While the museum store is currently closed to in person shoppers, you can pre-order a copy by emailing e@ohs.org">museumstore@ohs.org.

Over the course of two and a half years, the Quarterly’s editorial staff and the issue’s guest editors, Portland State University professor Dr. Darrell Millner and Portland State University visiting professor Dr. Carmen Thompson, worked with dozens of authors and community members to produce a nuanced investigation of this complex and uncomfortable aspect of our state’s history.

The issue’s concept was born in June 2017, two weeks after the violent murders on a MAX train in Portland, Oregon. The Oregon Historical Quarterly’s Editorial Advisory Board and staff decided to respond to the increase in public displays of White supremacy by doing what OHQ does best — publishing authoritative scholarship about Oregon history. The resulting special issue endures today as the nation continues to process and understand the January 6, 2021, violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

While this extremist violence is one consequence of the ideology of White supremacy, those structures also underpin American institutions and organizing systems — sometimes in imperceptible ways. In her “Note from the Editors,” in the Winter 2019 issue, Dr. Thompson explains this best:

White supremacy is not just the Ku Klux Klan donning robes or burning crosses, but it can be. It is not just an individual act of racial discrimination, although it can be that, too. White supremacy is a collective set of codes, spoken and unspoken, explicit and implied, that society enforces through its institutions, governments, and legal structures in order to keep those deemed as White on top and every other racial group below them — with specific emphasis, in the United States, on keeping Black people at the bottom.

Focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the special issue includes new and newly considered scholarship and primary sources that help illuminate a complex aspect of Oregon’s history. Fifteen authors, supported by over twenty peer reviewers, explore themes such as settler colonialism, labor organizing, and the global color line.

“The Oregon Historical Society’s mission is to advance knowledge about all the people, places, and events that have shaped this state. Journals like the Oregon Historical Quarterly are vital vehicles for public education about the lesser known — and often painful — areas of our history,” said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk.

“I think my whole career, in one way or another, was just a prologue to being a guest editor on this project,” said Darrell Millner. “To offer an alternative to the traditional, misleading narrative of Oregon and American history is a daunting challenge. I feel fortunate in this regard to have had a teammate like the Oregon Historical Society and the Quarterly staff in this effort.”

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.

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