History of Racial Discrimination in Southern Oregon

The Southern Oregon Historical Society Archives and artifacts primarily reflect the lives of white pioneers and later white settlers. The SOHS collections include limited materials related to people who faced discrimination. Unfortunately, such materials are also hard to find in other research collections.  Although the reasons for this situation are complex, they include the reality that in the past historical societies did not seek out or encourage donations by groups other than the higher echelons of society. 

The links below represent various efforts made by SOHS staff and volunteers to convey the experiences of people who faced discrimination by the white majority from 1851 to the present. These are representative - please contact the SOHS Archives for assistance in finding additional materials. 

Some of the Best Citizens: Intolerance in Southern Oregon," by James J. Phillips, PhD. Southern  Oregon Heritage Today, Summer, 2005. This article provides an overview of discrimination in Southern Oregon.

Lemuel and Worthington Bills, two of Rogue Valley’s first white settlers, accused of inciting Indian attacks on white travelers for their own gain

The Rogue River Indian War (pages on SOHS's site)

My Rogue River Indian War Pages (pages on truwe.sohs.org, perhaps the most comprehensive collection of materials available on the subject)

 The Oregon Trail of Tears documentation (one of many accounts on the truwe.sohs.org that present transcripts of historical documents related to the 1850s and government interaction with Native Americans)

Who’s Snooty Now? Letters to the Medford Mail Tribune about treatment of Camp White soldiers and their families in 1942.

Jacob Johnson, Black American pioneer, justice of the peace in 1870

George Wright, profile of a man who lived in the Soda Mountain Wilderness area from 1892 – 1981, appreciated the Indians who lived in the area and their lifestyle

John Adams story. He was a Shasta/Takelma Indian who recounted memories and stories of his childhood during the Rogue River Indians wars.

The Takelma Indians of Southwestern Oregon, by Virginia Card, with links to her written manuscript 

Land of Hope and Heartache, by Catherine Noah (Chinese in the Rogue Valley in the 1800s)

Chinese in Jacksonville in the 1800s (collections of photos by Peter Britt. Prints are available at the SOU Hannon Library and at SOHS)

High Hopes, Subtle Realities, the Issei Experience in Oregon, by Linda Tamura

Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Southern Oregon (a 3-part series)

Women and the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, by Jeff LaLande