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Oregon Historical Quarterly

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Police-community relations -- Oregon -- Portland, African Americans -- Oregon -- Portland, Albina (Portland, Or.)


As in many cities across America, the relationship between African Americans in Portland, Oregon, and the city police force was fraught with tension through the late twentieth century. Scholars Leanne Serbulo and Karen Gibson argue that Portland's African Americans, who collectively made up less than ten percent of Portland residents and were segregated into neighborhoods including the Albina district, experienced police as figures of colonial oppression. The authors chronicle how, over two decades bordered by African Americans' deaths at the hands of police, neighborhood activists attempted to reform the police department and met resistance. The authors conclude that transformation of the relationship between police and the black community could have been accomplished only through strong action by elected officials.


This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyright 2013, Oregon Historical Society. Reproduced by permission.

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