History Pub

Developed by Holy Names Heritage Center, History Pub is a collaborative program of the Heritage Center, Oregon Historical Society, and McMenamins. Programs feature a presentation by an expert from fields including history, journalism, and women's studies. Whenever possible, individuals who participated in or were affected by the events share their memories as part of the program. The voices of historical participants add a unique perspective to the discussion of these important issues.

History Pub is designed to increase public understanding of historical events that have shaped the past and their continued implications for the present and future. The series explores lesser-known historical events and the important roles minority groups have played in the Northwest and encourages participants to consider the ways social, cultural, and political forces affect individuals, communities and physical places.

The series is held at the historic McMenamins' Kennedy School in northeast Portland. Where else can you hear fascinating history while enjoying a slice of pizza and a frosty pint of handcrafted ale? History Pub appeals to a broad audience and is also family-friendly. This innovative program typically draws a crowd of 150 people each month.

Memories of Vanport: A Panel Discussion

May 28, 2018 7PM

During its short lifetime from 1942 to 1948, the city of Vanport was home to a large and diverse population. The housing project was constructed on a Columbia River flood plain to house thousands of workers employed in Portland and Vancouver’s shipyards during WWII. Vanport later served as home to returning veterans, African Americans and displaced Japanese Americans who had been interned. On May 30, 1948, the swollen Columbia River overflowed Vanport’s dikes and swept the city away. An unknown number of people died and 18,000 were left homeless. Former residents Luanne Barnes, Belva Jean Griffin, Carolyn Hinton and Janice Okamoto will share their memories of life in Vanport and the flood that destroyed the community.


Untold Stories of the Civil Rights Movement

March 26, 2018 7pm

Learn about the traditionally untold stories of the Civil Rights Movement, specifically the role of women of color. Speakers will share reflections on their work in the Oregon Civil Rights Movement — their struggles and greatest memories — as well as advice for young activists on how to get involved and what they can do to make a positive difference in their communities.

Joyce Harris’s career has been defined by her professional (and personal) work in making connections and meeting the needs of communities and educators. She currently serves as a manager with a focus on community engagement at Education Northwest. Previously, she served as an administrator at the Black Educational Center, a school she co-founded in Portland, from 1980-1993.

Jackie Winters represents District 10 in the Oregon State Senate. She began her life-long interest in citizen involvement in public policy listening to her parents’ discussions around the table in Topeka, Kansas. She was recruited to be supervisor of the Office of Economic Opportunity’s New Resources Program by Governor Tom McCall, and she was appointed Ombudsman by Governor Victor Atiyeh. In 1998, voters of District 31 elected her as their State Representative, the first African-American Republican to achieve this honor. She was re-elected to this office in 2000. In 2002, 2006 and 2010, she was elected as State Senator for District 10.

Charlotte Rutherford is a community activist and former civil rights attorney, administrative law judge, and entrepreneur. She was the third child of Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford. Rutherford grew up in Portland’s Albina District and attended Jefferson High School. She attended Los Angeles City College, arriving in the city during the Watts riots. In 1967, she returned to Portland and wrote for the Oregon Advance Times, a local Black newspaper. She earned a BS in Administration of Justice and a minor in Black Studies from PSU and her JD at Howard University. She worked as a civil rights attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Washington D.C. and New York City. Rutherford returned to Portland and worked as an administrative law judge for Oregon’s Office of Administrative Hearings until her retirement in 2010.

Joy Alise Davis is Executive Director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF). She is an experienced interdisciplinary design professional who has held support and leadership roles in various social justice organizations. Joy is a graduate of Miami University with a BA in Political Science. She worked at The U.S. Fund for UNICEF on the UNICEF Tap Project campaign centered on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in developing countries before earning her MA in Theories of Urban Practice program at Parsons The New School for Design. Joy founded Design+Culture Lab, LLC, a research-based urban social enterprise dedicated to the transformation of urban neighborhoods through collaborative design strategies to address the complex spatial issues associated with cultural, racial and ethnic inequality.


Legacy of Fire: Examining the Past for Clues to Oregon's Wildfire Future

February 26, 2018 7pm

Join forest historian Doug Decker for a look back at key events and trends in Oregon’s wildfire history—including the great Tillamook Burn that devastated 500 square miles of the Oregon Coast Range—for clues to the challenges and opportunities of living with fire in the 21st Century. Doug will cover the evolution of firefighting policy and technique in Oregon, provide a detailed look at the Tillamook Burn fires of the 1930s-1940s, and close with a look at how recent fires illustrate the challenges ahead.

Doug Decker served as Oregon State Forester from 2011-2016, retiring after a 29-year career with the Oregon Department of Forestry, including 11 years in the Tillamook State Forest, where he led development of the Tillamook Forest Center, an interpretive museum that tells the story of past and present in the former Tillamook Burn. In his semi-retirement Doug is on the faculty at Portland State University, chairs the national Forest History Society based at Duke University, and actively investigates the history of northeast Portland for his website www.alamedahistory.org. He is also helping lead development of the Salmonberry Trail, a major rail-trail project that will connect Portland to the Coast.


Don't Screw Up: The Story of How Nike Became the Success It Is Today

January 29, 2018 7pm

Join Nelson Farris, a 45 year Nike veteran and Ambassador of Culture and Nike Heritage, as he chronicles the Nike journey, from 1965 to today. It all started with a handshake and $1000 investment and now, Nike is a $36 billion-dollar company. Hear the first-hand stories of commitment, teamwork, risk taking, fierce competitiveness, and unprecedented customer service that makes Nike the success it is today.

About the Speaker:
In 1955, Nelson started to run track in Junior High School in Southern California. Eighteen running years later, involvement with the Southern California running community connected him to Nike in Oregon. Him and his running partner thought they could start their own Sport Shop and sell running shoes to their buddies. Their first inventory was all Nike; a new athletic shoe that they thought was “cool”.

Their business did not work out, so Nelson traded in his retail and running experience for a job with Nike, as the Southern California Promotional, Direct Sales, and Retail Manager. “Best decision I ever made,” says Nelson, “it was my dream job.” Over 40 years, 5 moves, 20 different jobs, and a million miles traveled to over 60 countries later, he now serves Nike employees globally and contributes to employee education and development, helping to build a better Nike for the future.

The Martha Washington Hotel: Portland's Early Affordable Housing Endeavor

November 27, 2017 7PM

 Three versions of the Martha Washington Hotel operated between 1887 and 1983.  Though only two were named The Martha Washington, all three were started by The Portland Women’s Union. The first all-women volunteer organization in the state of Oregon, the PWU had a  primary mission to provide a safe and respectable residence for women coming to the city of Portland.  

There were no organized social services to support women in the city at the time, so the Union also established Portland’s first night school, which offered classes in grammar, mathematics, and bookkeeping, and an industrial school, where women could learn gardening, sewing, and housekeeping skills. The PWU hired a “depot matron” to direct young women to “respectable” housing and employment and worked with social agencies to begin the travelers’ aid program.

Enjoy an evening watching a documentary about how the residences for women came to be, and learn from the filmmaker what she learned about the beginning of affordable housing for women in the city of Portland.

 Dana Plautz is a filmmaker with a passion for telling stories about places or industries that no longer exist in their original form.  Her projects include the award-winning documentary Artist Response to 9.11 and The Martha Washington and the Women Who Built Her. Ms. Plautz also produced and researched several of the interactive media installations for the 2006 Portland Armory which underscored the value of architectural preservation to our community.


The Beaverton Outlaws

October 30, 2017 7PM

Did you know that you can design, build, license and fly your very own full-scale aircraft? Did you know that Oregon is home to the most successful line of kit-built aircraft in the US? Did you know that without Oregon pilots none of this would be possible? Hear the story of the Beaverton pilots known as the "Beaverton Outlaws," who literally flew in the face of the federall government in the 1930s when home-built aircraft was marked illegal. Mark Baxter and Cassandra Barrong will present a video history of these men, complete with interviews of the outlaws themselves, highlighting what it was like to fly in such a time.The speakers will explore how these men forever changed the face of general aviation as we know it today.

The Legacy of Obo Addy and His Impact in the Pacific Northwest

August 28, 2017 7PM

For decades, the musical traditions of Ghana were explored and extended by Ghana-born and Portland-based drummer, composer, and bandleader Obo Addy. Together with his world beat band, Kukrudu, and traditional quartet, Okropong, Addy was one of Ghana's greatest musical ambassadors. A recipient of the prestigious national Heritage Fellowship Award by the National Endowment for the Arts, Addy toured extensively through the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia creating cultural awareness and understanding through the presentation of African music, dance and culture.

Join us for a presentation on Obo Addy's impact on the Pacific Northwest, including a performance by Okropong.

Though he passed away in 2012, Addy's work carries on through the Obo Addy Legacy Project, which includes educational offerings, concerts and performing arts groups that tour the country. Their mission is to preserve and present African music, dance and culture, as well as create new work and collaborate in ways that will strengthen the community. Their overarching goal is to work forward from Obo Addy's vision and ideas and use this as the springboard to new work and new ideas.

The Obo Addy Legacy Project was formed in 1986 under the name "Homowo African Arts and Cultures." Based in Portland, they've produced an African Music and Art Festival for 15 years (the Homowo Festival for African Arts), award winning programs in schools for 28 years, and an African Arts Day Camp for 15 years. They have served over one million people with high quality performances and educational opportunities and are known for their deep commitment to school age children.

Oregon's Edith Green: Champion for Equality

July 31, 2017 7PM

Much of what can be seen today in federal support of education, equal access for women to academic programs and faculties, and the current range of women's athletics -- indeed the expanded role of women in the workplace -- began more than a half century ago with Oregon's Edith Green. In her 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, she was the acknowledged leader on landmark education legislation, and before the advent of the Feminist Movement, she also was an early advocate for equal treatment of women in employment and education. Among many other laws, those two interests led to her role in creating what became known as Title IX, which prohibited discrimination against women by educational institutions receiving federal funds and led, among other important impacts, to a revolutionary expansion in women's sports. This talk looks at the notable career and achievements of this pace-setting lawmaker in promoting the causes of education and women's equality in the male-dominated Congress of her time.

Phil Cogswell retired in 1999 after a 32-year career at The Oregonian, including positions as reporter, op-ed page editor and deputy editorial page editor. He worked as a Congressional intern in the office of Rep. Edith Green in the summer of 1963 when she was securing passage of the Higher Education Facilities Act. As The Oregonian's Washington, D.C., correspondent (1972-74) he covered Rep. Green's last three years in Congress.