Historian will present stories of African American railroad porters


CORVALLIS, Ore. — Filmmaker and historian Michael “Chappie” Grice will share the stories of Oregon’s African American railroad porters on Oct. 12 at Oregon State University’s Valley Library.

Grice’s presentation focuses on the oral histories that he donated to OSU’s Valley Library in 2014 and that form the African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection. These sound recordings are interviews between Grice and 18 African American railroad porters in the Portland area in the early and mid-20 century. The recordings were initiated as research for Grice's documentary film, "Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest."

Grice’s presentation is from 3-5 p.m., Oct. 12 in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room on the Valley Library’s fifth floor. The event is free and open to the public.

“The information in the oral history interviews gathered by the collection creator and donor, Michael Grice, can be used to broaden the level of understanding of how African Americans played a significant role in the social and economic changes to the state during the 20th century,” said Natalia Fernández, curator and archivist with the Oregon Multicultural Archives at OSU’s Valley Library.

“Mr. Grice’s presentation, which will highlight some of the stories shared along with his personal experiences making the 1985 film, ‘Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest,’ will deepen public knowledge and appreciation of the African American experience and perspective in Oregon.”

The Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection is now accessible online at http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/oh29/.

The OSU Libraries enhance and support the university’s instructional and research programs with traditional and innovative services and collections. More info is at osulibrary.oregonstate.edu. 

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