THE POWER OF THE BLACK PRESS

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William “Bill” Hilliard became The Oregonian’s first Black employee, first Black reporter, and first Black editor in chief. Seen here in 1979, Hilliard worked to remove racial descriptions in crime reporting, arguing that they perpetuated negative stereotypes.
Credit: Oregonian

Since the early 1900s, Oregon’s Black press has been confronting racial discrimination and covering topics relevant to African Americans. During the Civil Rights Era, The Skanner and The Portland Observer, as well as some white-run alternative weeklies, became important sources of information.

Oregon’s main newspapers and television stations were overwhelmingly white-owned and mostly staffed by whites. The lack of Black representation would become increasingly evident as the events of the 1960s and 70s unfolded.