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Publication Date




William H. McClendon


[not available]


2017 N. Williams Ave


While attending Morehouse College, William H. McClendon was mentored by W.E.B. Bu Bois. This mentorship influenced McClendon’s lifelong dedication to the advancement of social justice for African Americans. McClendon married Ida Alice Edwards and returned to Ida’s family home in Portland, Oregon. In 1938, William McClendon launched The Portland Observer, the first of three newspapers he would publish and edit. The Portland Observer ceased publication a year later amidst The Great Depression. During this time, McClendon also played jazz piano in many prominent jazz groups and owned McClendon’s Rhythm Room and Supper Club. In 1943, McClendon restored his newspaper as The People’s Observer at the request of the Shipyard Negro Organization for Victory (SNOV). He agreed to take control of the newspaper as long as members of SNOV subscribed to it. The paper lasted two years, when in 1945, McClendon changed the name to The Observer. After ceasing publications of The Observer, McClendon was a social worker for Multnomah County during the 1950s and 1960s and began teaching courses at Reed College. He also lectured at Portland State University and helped start the Black Studies Program.


“Only one paper has the respect of the people! The choice of the Negro people of the Northwest is The Observer”

Dates of Publication

1945- 1950[?]




William H. McClendon


[not available]


2017 N. Williams Ave

Notes of Interest

Members of the Associated Negro Press

Another motto reads: “The Observer: Negro Owned – Negro Controlled, Our eyes are never closed to minority problems!”

Publication Location

Portland, Oregon

Original Format

print newspaper, 12" x 17"

Persistent Identifier


This digital access copy is made available for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. It cannot be reproduced in any form or distributed for commercial purposes. It is made accessible because of one or more of the following situations: Portland State University has permission to make it accessible; it is made accessible for education and research purposes under fair use; or there are no known restrictions on use. In the event that previously unknown information is shared that may change the status of this item, it will be immediately removed from public view until pertinent rights issues are clarified.

Observer-May 15, 1945