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Stella Maris House collection, 1940-1973; bulk : 1960-1972
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Stella Maris House collection, 1940-1973; bulk : 1960-1972

  • Mss 1585
  • Collection
  • 1940 - 1973

Ranging in date from 1940 to 1973, the Stella Maris House Collection consists of printed material, correspondence, and administrative, financial, and legal records created and collected by the Portland, Oregon-based social justice group during the course of their work. The collection demonstrates the local evolution of social issues key to the history of the United States during the 1960s. Over a third of the archive's content is dedicated to Oregon's migrant labor rights movement, and it also features records documenting the area's civil rights movement, urban renewal projects, interstate highway infrastructure, and social welfare programs initiated by the Economic Opportunity Act.

The bulk of the collection consists of printed material created by a number of local and national organizations between 1960 and 1972, then collected by the Stella Maris House. This portion of the archive includes programs, reports, studies, surveys, correspondence, brochures, and flyers generated by civil rights, migrant rights, and peace movement groups. Items of note include the Albina Neighborhood Improvement Project's plans for urban redevelopment (Series B), an African-American employment survey conducted by the Metropolitan Interfaith Commission on Race (Series E), and records documenting the Housing Authority of Portland (Series I). The collection also features printed material created by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Series E), the Valley Migrant League (Series J), and the United Farm Workers (Series J). Newspaper clippings that document events important to social justice movements constitute a substantial part of the collection.

A small but significant portion of the collection was created by the staff members of the Stella Maris House; it includes notes by the staff documenting the meetings of local groups. These meeting notes often provide remarkably candid insights into the workings of area groups. Additionally, Stella Maris House staff members also contributed group and program histories to the collection.

Stella Maris House (Portland, Or.)

“Innocent Fun or Social Shame?”

The Urban League of Portland provided this explanation against staging minstrel shows and blackface in schools. It was published in the Oregon Education Journal, c.1950. Edwin “Bill” Berry, who would later become the Executive Director of the Chicago Urban League, included a note addressing the teachers and principals who were “deeply hurt when the matter is discussed with them.” The goal of the essay, Berry wrote, was to educate as many teachers as possible so that the League’s “efforts will be preventative rather than remedial.”

Urban League of Portland (Portland, Or.)

Flyer for MLK Portland visit

The first page of the Urban League of Portland News Roundup newsletter, dated October 1961, announcing Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to Portland on November 8, 1961, invited people to attend his speech at the Civic Auditorium (now the Keller) and to make a small donation to pay for his travel expenses. King was invited by the Urban League to participate in the Annual Equal Opportunity Day, which is still held every year.

Urban League of Portland (Portland, Or.)

The Case Against the Administration of the Housing Authority of Portland

A report produced by the Portland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the fall of 1963. It lists grievances connected to racial discrimination, ethical violations, and general mismanagement at the Housing Authority of Portland.

Webb, Mayfield K.