Oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd [Session 03]

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Oral history interview with Ida Mae Shepherd [Session 03]


  • 2020-09-25 (Creation)


WAV; 01:31:37

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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 third interview session, conducted on September 25, 2020, Shepherd discusses her marriage to Theodore Cassidy Powell. She then talks about living in the Albina neighborhood in the early 1950s. She also revisits the topic of how the Black community changed after World War II, as well as how the way white people treated them changed. She talks about working as a janitor at KGW, and about her brief marriage to Curley Massey. She speaks about her marriage to Emmett Edwin Shepherd, about buying a house in the Eliot neighborhood, and about the changes in the neighborhood since the 1960s. She talks about raising a family, about her career in housekeeping and janitorial services, and about her experiences during the civil rights movement, including meeting Coretta Scott King. She shares her thoughts about police treatment of Black residents, talks about the mass displacement of Black residents during the construction of I-5 in the 1960s, and discusses the Black community in the Albina area of Portland.

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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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