06-17-2018  3:21 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Genealogical Forum of Oregon Hosts ‘Starting Your Genealogy’ Workshop

Free forum offers assistance for those just getting started ...

Literary Arts Offers Writers of Color Fellowship

Deadline to apply is July 9, 2018 ...

Man found shot to death at high school track in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a man was found shot to death on a high school track.Officers responded before 5 a.m. Sunday to the temporary site of Grant High School. The school is using the former Marshall High School campus as it undergoes a renovation.Authorities did not...

Bumblebee blues: Pacific Northwest pollinator in trouble

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Hundreds of citizen scientists have begun buzzing through locations across the Pacific Northwest seeking a better understanding about nearly 30 bumblebee species.Bumblebees, experts say, are important pollinators for both wild and agricultural plants, but some species...

Former convict sworn in as lawyer in Washington state

SEATTLE (AP) — One of Washington state's newest attorneys is a former convict.Seattle University Law School graduate Tarra Simmons was sworn in as a lawyer Saturday, seven months after the state Supreme Court ruled that she could take the bar exam despite her past, KING-TV reported ."I hope...

Man dead in wrong-way crash on Interstate 5 in Lacey

LACEY, Wash. (AP) — The Washington State Patrol says a 28-year-old Tacoma is dead after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in Lacey and crashing into an oncoming car.The News Tribune reports that it happened at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday. The man's car crashed into a sport-utility vehicle...

OPINION

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

Black Women Are Changing the Tide of American Politics

Black women voters will make the difference in the midterm elections and the future of American politics ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Top teams have trouble winning at World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):11:35 p.m.Parity has come to the World Cup.Five of the top six nations in the FIFA rankings have played, and none has won. Only two of the top dozen teams have victories.Top-ranked Germany lost to No. 15 Mexico,...

Maryland Democratic primary has 2 black candidates leading

BALTIMORE (AP) — With two leading candidates who have a shot at becoming Maryland's first black governor, the crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the state's changing demographics and the party's efforts to harness the energy of an increasingly diverse electorate around the...

3 Democrats look to make history in Wisconsin governor race

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Mahlon Mitchell likes to remind voters while campaigning that they can make history by electing him Wisconsin's first black governor. Meanwhile, Kathleen Vinehout and Kelda Roys — who breast-fed her daughter in a campaign video — are each hoping to become...

ENTERTAINMENT

Rapper Kamaiyah's court date in airport spat may be delayed

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) — A lawyer for rapper Kamaiyah expects her first court date in a Connecticut airport disturbance case will be postponed as he and a prosecutor work to resolve misdemeanor charges.The 26-year-old hip-hop artist from California was arrested at Bradley Airport near Hartford...

Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Potter festivals

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Warner Bros. is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the country, saying it's necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans, however, liken the move to Dementors sucking the joy out of homegrown fun, while festival directors say they'll...

Cornell's daughter pays tribute to late rocker with duet

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Cornell's daughter has released a recording of a duet with her late father as part of an emotional tribute to the late rocker on Father's Day.Toni Cornell released the duet of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" on Sunday along with a note thanking her dad for his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Brazil held to 1-1 draw by Switzerland at World Cup

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia (AP) — Brazil joined the list of big teams struggling to win their opening matches at...

Sea convoy reaches Spain as migration debate roils Europe

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — An aid group's ship and two Italian military vessels docked Sunday at the Spanish...

Giuliani says Trump could issue pardons after Russia probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday the president might pardon his jailed,...

Israel strikes launchers of burning kites from Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military on Sunday said it carried out four airstrikes targeting Palestinians...

The Latest: Afghan Taliban reject cease-fire extension

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the war in Afghanistan (all times local):8:15 p.m.Afghanistan's...

Police: Taxi driver who hit 8 Moscow pedestrians fell asleep

MOSCOW (AP) — The suspect in a taxi crash near Red Square that injured two Mexican soccer fans and six...

The Wake of Vanport
By Kam Williams | The Skanner News

Vanport, Oregon was established in 1942 on lowlands located between Portland and the Columbia River. At its height, the hastily-constructed public housing project had about 40,000 inhabitants, most of whom were hired by the military to work in shipyards in nearby Portland and Vancouver.

After the war ended, it proved to be an attractive destination for African-Americans families who appreciated that the town was integrated and that it offered a higher quality of life than what they'd experienced in places like Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. A big negative, however, was the series of sluices slicing through the city serving as an ever-present reminder of the precarious nature of its existence.

For, there was always the possibility that a dike might give out, a fear that turned into a frightening reality at 4:05 pm on Sunday, May 30, 1948. Heavy snows followed by an unusually warm spring combined to flood the town by nightfall, claiming 15 lives while leaving the rest of its citizens homeless.

The Wake of Vanport is a very moving documentary featuring archival photographs of the Memorial Day disaster, as well as the wistful remembrances of a number of survivors. Belva Jean Griffin, who was 21 at the time, recounts how her parents had received unreliable assurances that the dams would hold. Consequently, she lost everything she owned except an album of family photos.

Regina Flowers, reminisces about how there was no racial strife among the kids in Vanport when she was growing up, although there was some among the adults. Paula Hartman recalls that only whites received advance notice about the impending deluge in a handbill that read: 

"Remember: Dikes are safe at present.
 You will be warned, if necessary.
 You will have time to leave.
 Don't get excited."

Lily Raxter recollects watching a black lady with a couple of huge suitcases being swept away by the all-consuming current. And Marge White talks about immediately falling in love with Vanport upon arriving from Tallulah, Louisiana in the fall of '44. Together, this touching collection of truly heartfelt remembrances paint a poignant portrait of a short-lived, idyllic oasis.

Excellent ★★★★
Unrated
Running time: 53 minutes
Distributor: The Skanner Foundation

 

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