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home : calendar : events calendar June 24, 2016

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Event Information
EventAuthor Reading & Slideshow with R. Gregory Nokes
PlacePaulina Springs Books
Address252 W. Hood Ave.
DetailsR. Gregory Nokes will read from his new book, "Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory," including a slideshow of photographs related to the history of slavery and race relations in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, up to and including statehood. Probably few residents are aware there were black slaves in the Oregon Territory during the years between white settlement and the Civil War. Nokes came across the story of Oregon slaves when he learned that one of his ancestors brought a slave from Missouri to the Willamette Valley in 1853. While digging into his family history, Nokes discovered that many of the early wagon trains from Missouri included a few slaves, beginning in 1843.

Although Oregonís provisional government had enacted a law against slavery, it wasnít enforced. Nokes was able to document nearly fifty slaves in the Oregon Territory, and canít rule out there were others. A central focus of the book is an 1852 slavery case in Polk County in which a former slave sued his former slaveowner for the freedom of his children still being held eight years after being brought to Oregon. Known as Holmes v. Ford, it is the only slavery case adjudicated in Oregonís pre-Civil War courts. "Breaking Chains" also examines racial attitudes in the period leading to statehood and beyond. Many of the regionís early leaders were pro-slavery, and Oregon was the only free state admitted into the union with a black exclusion clause in its Constitution. The clause wasnít removed until 1926.

Admission is $5, refunded upon purchase of the featured book. Refreshments will be served.
Start DateFriday, August 30, 2013
Start Time6:30 PM
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