The Oregon Black Pioneers holds its annual fundraiser Saturday. Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Grand Theater in Salem, featuring a dramatic performance of the lives of women through history.
"I Dream A World, Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America," photographed by Brian Lanker of Eugene, Ore., will be a staged production highlighting the stories of several unsung African American women. The women's stories selected from the book will be brought to life on stage by local African American women from Salem and Portland.
Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott, one of the women portrayed in our production will be in attendance. Dr. Scott currently lives in Texas.
Funds will be used to support publication of a book analyzing African American history in Marion and Polk County, due out in early 2010.
The stage show is being directed by Willie B. Richardson, with David Janowiak, associate professor in the Theatre Department at Western Oregon University as artistic consultant.
Tickets are available online at http://www.absolutelytix.com/ , and at the door.
The Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers is an all volunteer nonprofit organization founded in 1993 and based in Salem.
Its original goal was to research and educate Oregonians about African Americans' contributions to the state's history. Soon after its creation, the organization developed a small resource booklet and study guide on Oregon's black history and distributed it through the Salem-Keizer School District and Marion County Historical Society.
A major milestone of the pioneers' group was its more recent partnership with the Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery in Salem, which led to their discovery of that more than forty Black pioneers are buried at the cemetery in Salem, both in marked and unmarked graves.
In 2007, the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers presented the City of Salem with a stone marker for the cemetery to honor the memory of those pioneers. This gift to the city was accepted by Mayor Janet Taylor at a well-attended ceremony that kicked off an exhibit called "Salem's Black Voices," which told the stories of many of those pioneers.
You can read more about the organization at http://www.oregonnorthwestblackpioneers.org/ .