This collection of photographs was found beneath a stairwell in a home within the historically-Black Albina neighborhood of Portland. The photos were donated to Oregon Black Pioneers in 2018 by the home's owners.

Through research and examination of the photos, it is believed the collection originally belonged to McAlma "Lucille" Thomas Hastings. These photos provide rare visual evidence of the African American great migration, the wartime city of Vanport, and life within Portland's Black community ca. 1940s-1970s.

In Winter 2023, Oregon Black Pioneers, PSU Black Studies, PSU Library Special Collections, and Oregon Historical Society partnered to create this public archive from these family photos.

The archives project was carried out by four students in Professor Walidah Imarisha's Black Studies course: Jeff Donaldson-Forbes, Kay Johnson, Alana Krubl, and Hailey Machlan. The students worked with Portland State University Library Special Collections to organize, describe, and digitize the photographs.

In addition to the digital preservation work, the students researched the historical context of the photo collection as a record of Black life in Portland during the mid-20th century. Their research is published as a series of articles in the Summer 2023 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly, available online through the PSU Library.

See Professor Imarisha's students' presentations on their research and hands-on digital preservation experience: "Creating a Historic Black Archive."


Browse the Oregon Black Pioneers Historic Photograph Collection:

Album 1

Album 2

Loose Photos