Oregon Historical Quarterly
Discrimination in housing -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, African Americans -- Housing -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area
Leanne Serbulo presented a timeline of civil rights struggles in Portland, Oregon, at a public history roundtable at the Oregon Historical Society commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. In this record of her presentation, Serbulo documents milestones in dismantling racial discrimination between 1949 and 1990. For this timeline, Serbulo researched Metropolitan Human Relations Commission (MHRC) records held at the Portland City Archives and traces how the commission navigated the process of improving race relations in the city and Multnomah County. As Serbulo argues, “civil rights legislation was simply the first step in a long and unfinished journey toward equality.” As the timeline shows, dismantling racial discrimination occurred primarily in public agencies during that time period, as “MHRC and other civil rights organizations had little influence over the myriad of diffuse transactions in the housing market, and the public agencies that were empowered to regulate those markets were reluctant to aggressively police the private housing industry.”
Serbulo, L. 2018. Small Steps on the Long Journey to Equality: A Timeline of Post-Legislation Civil Rights Struggles in Portland. Oregon Historical Quarterly, 119:3, 376-399.