Author: Coos History Membership

Chalk the Vote Art!

The Coos History Museum and the League of Women Voters of Coos County are sponsoring this fun, easy-to-socially-distance activity during the week of August 24-29. We will continue to chalk our walks until it starts raining!

August 26 is the centennial of the 19th Amendment (aka Women’s Equality Day). Create your own tribute to our precious right to vote! Use your own space, a business space (Ask first please!) or contact the Coos History Museum about decorating our walk way. We have 75-5’x6′ squares on our sidewalk available! Local artists, families and individuals can call to arrange to decorate during the week.

Coos Bay Honors Lynching Victim

Originally posted March 5, 2020

 

Coos History Museum Works with National Memorial for Peace and Justice

By Steven Greif, Board Member, and Marcia Hart, Executive Director, Coos History Museum

On Saturday, February 29, 2020, the Coos History Museum and the City of Coos Bay joined with the Taylor Stewart, a volunteer with the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), and Bre Lamkin, from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama to retell the story of a racially driven and violent tragedy that occurred on September 8, 1902, the lynching of Alonzo Tucker. This ceremony was an effort to begin the reconciliation of one dark and difficult event in the historical record with our present day point of view of race relations in Coos County.

Citizens who attended the February 2020 event placed soil, collected from Front Street and 7th Street Bridge sites, in two decorative jars inscribed with the name of Alonzo Tucker.  One jar was sent to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama for display along with the hundreds of others that commemorate lynching sites in America.  The second jar is now in the Coos History Museum collection and will be used in a future exhibit about racial injustice in the history in Oregon and the South Coast.  In the meantime, the City of Coos Bay has agreed to pay for, and install, a commemorative plaque at the Front Street site. The Coos History Museum will provide information from the historical record for the plaque. There will be public notification of the placement of the plaque when preparations are completed.

The non-profit Equal Justice Initiative was founded in 1989. The EJI educates citizens about civil rights and provides research and recommendations to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of criminal justice reform.

The mission of the Coos History Museum is to create a better understanding of life in Coos County and Oregon’s South Coast, past and present, and our place in that life.  Over the last five years, the Coos History Museum has held over a dozen events connected with the theme of diversity by working with the Oregon Humanities Commission, LGBTQ+ organizations, and homeless advocates.

Museums are a vital part of how we tell the stories of who we are, who we’ve been, and how we will live together. They maintain our cultural heritage and teach us about all the ways we are different and the same. Reflecting the diversity of that heritage is a critical part of the Coos County Historical Society and The Coos History Museums’ work. We work towards highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion as a key focus area in our strategic priorities and educational programming. Inclusion is how we move toward our equity goal, and diversity describes the breadth of our experiences and perspectives.

The Society acknowledges the acute trauma and pain experienced by African American/Black people over the past weeks, months, and years and throughout our history as a country. We support local, state and national voices of peaceful protest and change.  We also acknowledge the even larger picture of oppression of all people of color, from the Native People who lived on this land before the white settlers, to the immigrants of all races who were brought to this area in the early 19th century.

We encourages citizen to learn more about state and local history regarding civil rights.  The following books may be helpful in understanding regional civil rights issues:

  • Law on the Bay: Marshfield, Oregon 1874-1944 by Andie E. Jensen (2010). The author shares extensive newspaper research about the crimes and law enforcement officers in old Coos Bay and includes newspaper accounts of the Alonzo Tucker lynching.
  • The Coos Bay Region 1890-1944: Life on a Coastal Frontier by Nathan Douthit (2nd edition, 2005) is a book about the pioneer era. The author relied on many oral history interviews as well as historical documents and photographs. Some discussion of minority issues, including the Alonzo Tucker event, are covered.
  • Made in Japan and Settled in Oregon (1990) by Mitzi Asai Loftus, formerly of Coos Bay, describes a first-hand account of the Japanese relocation camps of the WWII era.
  • Paper Fight: The Coos Bay Times and the Ku Klux Klan by Jon Littlefield (2014). Discusses the competition of the two leading newspapers in Marshfield in the 1920s and the influence that KKK activities had on local and state politics. Good biographies of the Maloney brothers (who ran the Times), Charles Hall (businessman who ran for governor).
  • Between Two Worlds: Chinese of Marshfield, Oregon (3rd edition) by Jon Littlefield (2016). Chinese immigrants came to Coos County to build the railroads, work in the mines and canneries, serve as cooks in lumber camps, and operate stores. The story of several Chinese families, especially the family of Gow Why, from about 1880 to 1940.
  • Stars in the Dark: Coal Mines of Southwestern Oregon by Dow Beckham (1995). Discussion of the minority workers at the mines, markets and competition, coal transportation and mining industry changes.
  • Uncertain Encounters: Indians and Whites at Peace and War in Southern Oregon 1820s-1860s by Nathan Douthit (2002). Investigates the Hudson’s Bay fur trading company and its relations with Indians on the South Coast, white exploration, conflicts with settlers, the removal of Indians to reservations, and the culture afterwards.
  • She’s Tricky Like Coyote: Annie Miner Peterson, An Oregon Coast Indian Woman by Lionel Youst (1997) is the story of the last native Coos language speaker who lived on the Coastal Reservation in the late 1800s and later served as an informant to anthropologists in the 1930s.

 

Click here to read about coverage from this historical event.

News Release from Oregon Cultural Trust

CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS CITE DEVASTATING COVID-19 LOSSES IN STATEWIDE CULTURAL TRUST IMPACT SURVEY (PHOTO)

News Release from Oregon Cultural Trust
Posted on FlashAlert: June 11th, 2020 11:40 AM

Salem, Ore. –The majority of Oregon’s cultural organizations are facing suspension of operations or permanent closure due to the COVID-19 impact, reveals an Oregon Cultural Trust survey released today.

The most comprehensive survey of Oregon’s cultural community since the crisis began, the survey includes data and comments from 330 cultural nonprofits representing 83 percent of Oregon counties. Participants project a collective loss of $40 million and average losses of $121,281 through June 30. The majority of respondents (54 percent) have annual revenues of less than $250,000 and operate outside of the Portland Metro area.

More than half (51 percent) of respondents have not applied for the federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP), likely due to the fact that 44 percent employ less than one full-time staff member – relying mostly on a volunteer workforce. Of the 49 percent that did apply for PPP, only 73 percent have received funds to-date. More than 90 percent of those that did receive PPP funds report the funding is “not adequate to support their financial losses.”

“The PPP loan is a financial band-aid for the short term, but for us to continue to provide our essential service…there will be a need for continued relief funding well into the next fiscal year and possibly beyond,” reports the Tillicum Foundation, which operates nonprofit radio stations in Astoria, Tillamook and Warrenton.

“Quite frankly right now it looks grim,” reports the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, “when the PPP monies are gone we may be looking at a ‘staffless’ OCCA for a while.”

Because most cultural organizations rely on large gatherings for ticket and rental revenue, they rank at the top of Oregon business sectors most severely affected by the crisis. They also will be the slowest to reopen, given the indefinite ban on large gatherings due to COVID-19. “Without any earned revenue, we are relying entirely on philanthropy and government support,” reports the Portland Art Museum.

“[Without relief funding,] we will have to close our doors and lose the investment of our community over 30 years,” reports the Gilbert House Children’s Museum in Salem.

The survey also revealed particular hardship for cultural organizations in rural areas. Bend’s High Desert Museum reports that “museums and cultural organizations in more rural areas will be hit hardest immediately and will have a much longer recovery period – we saw this during the recession and the indicators point to a similar pattern now…funding to help organizations like the High Desert Museum be resilient for the next 12-24 months is critical.”

Survey comments also reflect the concern cultural organizations have for the vulnerable populations they serve. The Shadow Project, which provides learning support for children with disabilities, reports that “during COVID-19 these children are even more vulnerable, at highest risk of falling further behind and exacerbated mental health disorders.”

“Underserved rural populations define the youth and families we serve,” reports the Drexel H. Foundation in Vale, where 21 percent of the population lives in poverty. Their outreach programs are “free to all, reducing economic barriers to learning, cultural experiences and art participation for all ethnic groups. Grantors have canceled funding opportunities we had counted upon….[t]oo many resources have disappeared.”

The Cultural Trust is currently awaiting Legislative consideration of its Emergency Cultural Relief Fund proposal, which would deploy up to $10 million of its $29 million permanent fund to create an emergency relief funding program for Oregon’s cultural organizations.

See a visual representation of the survey results.

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Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust is a testimony to how much Oregonians value culture. No other state provides a 100 percent tax credit to inspire cultural giving. As uniquely Oregonian as public beaches and the bottle bill, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established 18 years ago by the Oregon Legislature as an ongoing funding engine for arts and culture across the state. Oregonians fund the Cultural Trust. We, in turn, fund the artists, potters, rappers, acrobats and dreamers who make Oregon, Oregon. In 2017 Oregonians gave $4.9 million to the Cultural Trust, our all-time record. Sixty percent of that went straight back to the field. The remaining 40 percent helped grow our permanent fund. Our three grant programs fund our five Statewide Partners, 45 County and Tribal Coalitions and qualified cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development Grants.

Annual Clean Up

The museum was again blessed with volunteer labor in October in the form of seven students from the Destinations Stewards program at Marshfield and three adults from the Coos Watershed Association. The crew, along with CHM board member Steve Greif, removed sand from the front parking lot, removed invasive species from our east bioswale and parking lot islands, and trimmed blackberry vines near the south plaza. Thanks in particular to Alexa Carleton from Coos Watershed Association for arranging this annual cleanup event.

Plein Air Painters

On Friday morning a small group of Plein Air painters were on the museum site to work on their art.  After working on their pieces, they sat around and critiqued each one.   It was fun to have something different happening outside the museum. Permission was given to post their work.

50th Anniversary of Stonewall

This past Saturday community members celebrated the 50th Year Anniversary of Stonewall, a historic milestone in the civil rights movement. We had the pleasure of hosting 7 panelist from Coos County to discuss what Stonewall meant to them. After watching a short video overview of the movement, an audience of 65+ people asked questions and spoke about how they could relate personally to an ongoing understanding of LGBTQ+ rights. Folks from community agencies asked about making their work places more inclusive, while other people shared personal stories of loved ones. We are thankful to our panelist who all contributed their perspectives and resources. This was a great way to close up Pride Month, but folks left hoping there will be more events like this year round.