Saturday, May 20, 2017
Billy Webb Lodge 1050
Williams Ave. was once the vibrant heart of Portland’s Black community. Formerly known as the “Black Broadway,” the corridor included a concentration of Black churches, businesses, social service organizations and nightclubs that were thriving and active community institutions.
Although the landscape has changed, there is much to remember, celebrate and build upon. In 2012, the Williams Ave. Safety Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee recommended to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that these stories be honored through an art history project that could be visible on the corridor. Thus, the community-led Honoring History of Williams Ave. Committee and the Historic Black Williams Project were born.
Since then, local artists Cleo Davis and Kayin Talton Davis have been collecting stories, memories and histories from Black community members. Their artwork is now complete and ready for installation. We hope that this project will serve as both a visual archive and an inspiration for future community efforts. Please join us on My 20th and June 3rd as we honor this history and project contributors. These events will be a “homecoming” for longstanding and displaced community members; include a preview of the art collection; speak the names of those community members and institutions that came before; and provide opportunities for other stories to be collected for the project archive.