An Historical Perspective of Oregon's and Portland's Political and Social Atmosphere in Relation to the Legal Justice System as it Pertained to Minorities: With Specific Reference to State Laws, City Ordinances, and Arrest and Court Records During the Period -- 1840-1895
Portland State University. Department of Administration of Justice
Charles A. Tracy
Date of Award
Master of Science in Administration (MSA)
Criminology and Criminal Justice
1 online resource (vi, 359,  p.)
Discrimination in justice administration -- Oregon -- Portland -- History, Discrimination in justice administration -- Oregon -- History, Minorities -- Legal status laws etc. -- Oregon -- Portland -- History, Minorities -- Legal status laws etc. -- Oregon -- History
Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented in Portland, Oregon's criminal justice system. Laws, legal procedures and practices that excessively target minorities are not new phenomena. This study focused on a history of political and social conditions in Oregon, and subsequently, Portland, from the 1840' s to 1895, that created unjust state laws and city ordinances that adversely impacted Native Americans, African Americans, and Chinese Immigrants. Attention was also given to the Jewish population.
The approach was to examine available arrest and court records from Oregon's and Portland's early beginnings to ascertain what qualitative information records could provide regarding the treatment of minorities by the justice system. As an outgrowth of this observation, it was necessary to obtain an understanding of the legal environment related to arrests and dispositions of adjudications. Finally, a review of the political and social atmosphere during the time period provided a look at the framework that shaped public attitudes and civic actions.
Examination of available arrest records and court records recorded during the period were conducted at the City of Portland's Stanley Paar Archives. Observations were limited to the availability of archive records. Oregon's history, relative legislation, Portland's history and applicable ordinances were studied and extrapolated from valid secondary resources. Political and social conditions were reviewed through newspaper accounts during recorded history from that time period.
Research indicated that Native Americans, African Americans and Chinese Immigrants were: not legally afforded equal access to Oregon land provisions; denied equitable treatment under the law in comparison to their white counterparts; were unjustly targeted for criminal activities by the enactment and enforcement of laws based on racist views; and, negatively used as political ploys to the advantage of candidates seeking public office. Much of this research is akin to actions in many political, legal and justice arenas of the 1990' s, that continue to adversely impact racial/ethnic minorities unfairly. Although members of the Jewish community were not negatively affected by law, they suffered social injustices. However, they were members of the legal and political fiber that shaped civic sentiments and legislative action in both positive and negative ways.
Boston, Clarinèr Freeman, "An Historical Perspective of Oregon's and Portland's Political and Social Atmosphere in Relation to the Legal Justice System as it Pertained to Minorities: With Specific Reference to State Laws, City Ordinances, and Arrest and Court Records During the Period -- 1840-1895" (1997). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4992.