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A selection of books is included in the exhibit, for reference and to display related images. The books are grouped by subject, complementing the themes in the cases. All these books are part of the University of Oregon Libraries' collection. Search the online catalog or the NW union catalog, Summit, for more information.


Anderson, Martha. Black pioneers of the Northwest, 1800-1918, 1980. Image of Rev. S.S. Dixon, founder of the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Portland, established in 1895, an important hub for the local African-American community.

History of Portland's African American community (1805-to the present), 1993. Image of African-American railroad workers. The railroads were significant for the employment opportunities they offered African Americans.

McLagan, Elizabeth. A peculiar paradise : a history of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940, 1980. Images of the Cannadys. E.D. Cannady, 1913. Cannady was the editor of The Advocate, Portland’s second African-American-owned newpaper, which began publication in 1903. He was married to Beatrice Cannady 1912-1930. Beatrice Cannady-Taylor, the first African American woman to practice law in Oregon. She attended Northwestern School of Law, and was admitted to the Oregon Bar in 1922. In 1912, she became assistant editor of The Advocate, and its editor in 1932.


Kesey, Ken, Last go round, 1994. “Three immortal riders stand out on our northwestern horizon … one rider’s face is tinted Indian copper, one Caucasian pink, one a deep molasses brown.” Kesey’s inspiration for his novel came from a photograph of three cowboys from three races, who competed against each other in the Pendleton Round-Up of 1911: George Fletcher, Jackson Sundown, and John Spain. Sadly, the University of Oregon does not have a copy of this photo.

Brame, Herman L. African American athletes in Oregon, 2000. In addition to thorough coverage of the general subject, includes an account of the “most exciting and controversial” contest between George Fletcher, Jackson Sundown, and John Spain, p. 18-19.

Savage, Candace. Cowgirls, 1996. “Billed as the “Woman World Champion Bucking Horse, Trick and Fancy Rider,” Tillie Baldwin began her adult life as a hairdresser. A self-made rodeo cowgirl, she expanded her repertoire of riding stunts by dressing like a gymnast.” Candid portrait, and image of Baldwin standing atop a galloping horse.

At the Pendleton Round-Up in 1912, Tillie Baldwin (1888-1958) won both the trick riding and cowgirls’ bronc riding contests. Born in Avendale, Norway as Anna Matilda Winger, Baldwin immigrated to New York City at age 14. She became inspired to learn trick riding after seeing a cowgirl movie being filmed, even though she had never been on a horse or seen a ranch, and began her rodeo career in Wild West shows and vaudeville. She rode in her first real rodeo in 1911 in Los Angeles, and won the bronc riding. Besides becoming one of the world’s greatest cowgirl bronc riders, this fearless athlete was the first woman to win a roman race—standing on the back of two galloping horses—and to try bulldogging—wrestling full-grown steers to the ground. Tillie Baldwin was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2000, and the National Cowboy’s Hall of Fame in 2004. [Information from Hall of Fame listings.]

Hispanic Americans

Nosotros: The Hispanic People of Oregon: Essays and Recollections, 1995. Image of workers at Pinnacle Packing, Medford, 1945.

Gamboa, Erasmo. Mexican labor and World War II: braceros in the Pacific Northwest, 1942-1947, 1990. Images of workers in Oregon in the Bracero Program.

El Norte

“Nearly four centuries ago, Spanish explorers sailed along the Pacific coast and recorded detailed observations about the land and its inhabitants. In the 1800s Mexican vaqueros helped establish the vast cattle ranches of the Oregon High Desert and skilled Mexican mule packers brought supplies to soldiers and settlers. During World War II, when the state’s farmers were desperate for help, imported Mexican workers harvested the crops and aided the war effort. When the war ended, Mexican Americans replaced these braceros and laid the foundation for the present-day Hispanic community.” [Nosotros]

Until 1848, the US-Mexico border lay just south of Ashland, Oregon. There was a steady flow of commerce between the two nations. In the early 1900s, many Mexican people immigrated to the northwest, some seeking employment opportunities, and some fleeing the politics and increasing rural poverty of a post-revolutionary Mexico. Between 1910 and the 1920s, one in ten Mexicans sought sanctuary in the United States. Mexico had endured two decades of civil war following the 35-year dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. In Oregon and the Northwest, farming and agricultural work was flourishing, and offered jobs for the expatriates.

After World War I and through the Great Depression, Oregon farmers continued to recruit Hispanic laborers, as many Anglos avoided the hard “stoop” labor jobs, despite the surge in unemployment. Additionally, railroad companies were hiring more and more Hispanics to build and maintain their tracks. World War II created a labor shortage that was especially hard on Oregon farms. Jobs were now plentiful and farm work ranked as the least desirable. The federal government created the Bracero Program and recruited Mexican men to alleviate the farm labor shortage.

In the years following the war, Hispanics found new opportunities for employment and families came to Oregon in increasing numbers. Many of the Mexican laborers were still relegated to the hard, low-wage jobs on farms and railroads, but some were able to find work as farm-equipment operators, crew leaders and supervisors, and in food processing. Migrant workers made up a large percentage of this growing work force. Some families found that they could find employment all year-round, moving from crop to crop throughout Oregon, Washington, and California. By the time the green bean harvest ended in one place, the hop harvest was beginning in another. Permanent Hispanic communities began to develop as families decided to stay in one place instead of migrating from job to job. More Mexican Americans began to move to Oregon and into some of the smaller rural communities, such as Independence, Woodburn, Nyssa, and Ontario. Hispanic culture flavors many Oregon towns today.

The Bracero Program

“More than any other period, the World War II years pulled Mexican Hispanics to Oregon and the rest of the Pacific Northwest in unprecedented numbers. They came for one reason—to fill the critical labor shortages that threatened agricultural production.” [Nosotros]

The Mexican Farm Labor Program, commonly called the Bracero Program, was a war-time labor agreement between the governments of Mexico and the United States that allowed Mexican men to come to the U.S. for temporary farm employment. The contracts stipulated that the workers, called braceros (“laborers”), had to return to Mexico when their jobs were done. These initial contracts also provided certain guarantees for the workers, specifying minimum standards for living and working conditions. There was even a provision that there should be no discrimination against the braceros.

Most of the farmers disregarded the contracts, and many, if not all, of these guarantees were not met. The “compliance officers” were very few in number and were assigned large territories. In 1943, ten Mexican labor inspectors were assigned to the program, with only two of them responsible for the whole northwest.

The program ended nationally in 1964, but only existed in Oregon for five years, 1942-47, during which time approximately 15,136 braceros were contracted as farm laborers from Mexico. In Oregon, the Bracero Program was phased out when the war ended, and migratory Mexican-American workers began to replace the earlier contracted workers.

Asian Americans

Cox, Ted W. The Toledo incident of 1925, 2005.

In 1925 a mob forced Japanese workers out of an Oregon mill town. On July 10 a group of Asian workers arrived in Toledo. Contracted by the Pacific Spruce Corporation sawmill, the group included 27 Japanese, four Filipinos, and one Korean. Most of these workers were already residents of Oregon, and had left previous jobs to come to Toledo. The following day a group of residents rallied against the presence of Japanese workers in Toledo. On Sunday, July 12, a mob of about 50 men broke into the houses of the workers, ordered all the Asians and their families to pack their belongings, and “herded” them to an assembly of cars and trucks waiting to transport the workers to the train station in Corvallis.

Five of the expelled workers filed civil lawsuits against a group of Toledo residents, providing a first test of the rights of alien workers. The first case went to trial on July 12, 1926, exactly one year later. The basis of the lawsuit was the 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, which guaranteed Japanese residents the right to reside and work within the U.S. under the protection of American law. The jury ruled unanimously for the expelled worker. A new precedent had been set. “Legal aliens living in the United States had civil rights, which could not be violated by the will of local populations without possible consequences.”

Kessler, Lauren. Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family, 1993. See The Yasui Legacy.

Yasui, Robert S. The Yasui family of Hood River, Oregon, 1987. See The Yasui Legacy.

Oregana, 1939 and 1942.

Next: Resources
Last revision: 10/12/05 by N. Helmer
Created by Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries