Oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd [Session 02]

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Oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd [Session 02]


  • 2020-09-11 (Creation)


WAV; 01:17:11

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Ida Mae Shepherd, nee Gross, was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1929. Her parents divorced when she was around 13, and when her mother remarried, the family moved to Vanport. After the 1948 flood that destroyed Vanport, they briefly lived in Guild's Lake. She married three times, first to Theodore Cassidy Powell, with whom she had one child. They divorced, and she briefly remarried, to Curley Massey, in 1958. In 1964, she married Emmett Edwin Shepherd, and they later had three children. Ida Mae Shepherd worked in housekeeping and janitorial services, and was active in Albina Fair Share. After her retirement in the late 1980s, she volunteered for multiple organizations in Portland, including as a tutor at Boise-Eliot/Humboldt School. She died in 2022.

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In the second interview session, conducted on September 11, 2020, Shepherd speaks further about her family background, focusing on her paternal family. She revisits the topic of her early life in the Eliot neighborhood, and talks about her Catholic upbringing and involvement with the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church. She discusses how the Black community changed after World War II, as well as changes in the way white people treated them. She then continues to discuss living in Vanport as a teenager during World War II, including her social life, recreational activities, and segregation. She also talks about her early education and about jobs she worked after dropping out. She shares her experiences during the 1948 flood, including living in Guild's Lake for a short time afterward.

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Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/

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  • English

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