A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization


(503) 540-4063

"Oregon history is the richer for "Perseverance"

Since the beginning, even before the wagon trains, African Americans have played an essential part in building Oregon. In Marion and Polk counties, they overcame the obstacles of wilderness, prejudice, and isolation, helping to create a vibrant community. They have often been left out of the paintings and statues, but Perseverance brings you many of their names and describes the ways they have made history, taking their rightful place among pioneers past and present in the Willamette Valley.

"Oregon history is the richer for Perseverance. Thanks to the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers for documenting the history and character of Oregon’s African Americans. We can now fully embrace the African American community’s hardships and triumphs and rejoice in their innumerable contributions to our state."
—Mary Oberst, First Lady of Oregon, 2003–11


"This work is a significant contribution to the study of the Black experience in Oregon history."
—Dr. Darrell Millner, Professor, Black Studies Department, Portland State University

280 pages, extensively illustrated,$25.00
Coming soon!
E-mail us to reserve your copies!


Mission Statement
The mission of Oregon African American Museum is to educate the public about African American history in Oregon by collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting material evidence of the African American experience.


Welcome to the OAAM website.  Here you will have the opportunity to stay in touch with our efforts to establish an Oregon African American history museum which will be located in Salem, Oregon's state capital.

The museum project effort is bringing together Oregonians by sharing this rich history and vision. Our website offers you an overview regarding our Advisory Board, Steering Committee and the OAAM vision, mission and development goals. Fundraising efforts are now underway. 

“Discovering and documenting the history of the Oregon African Americans (pre and post statehood), which was basically lost, is now being uncovered by the ‘Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers’ board and advisors. With vigor and purpose the board has put permanence to that goal with the current major project being an Oregon African American museum in Salem to visually tell the story. Your support in providing information, artifacts, and financial contributions would be appreciated."     Victor Atiyeh (Oregon Governor 1979-1987)


OAAM Vision Statement
The Oregon African American Museum is the premier cultural institution that is the steward of the African American experience in Oregon. The museum honors Oregon’s African American heritage. Our vision statement for OAAM has four important guiding principles:

Integrity: The OAAM exemplifies the highest standards of excellence and conducts its business with integrity and openness. The museum is dedicated to learning and to developing and improving services.  

Stewardship: The OAAM values collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting evidence of the African American experience. The museum curates, promotes and protects the cultural and artistic treasures of Oregon’s African American community with the utmost care and respect.

Education and Research: The OAAM inspires people of all ages to explore and discover the role of African Americans in shaping the history of Oregon. The museum provides the most up-to-date educational resources related to the Oregon African American experience.

Gathering Place: The OAAM is a state-of-the-art facility that supports a sense of community and is inviting to people of all ages and backgrounds.  The Museum provides a location for sharing, community events and social gatherings and a forum for discussion.


Our museum steering committee and advisory board were established in 2007, and have been responsible for formulating strategic development plans in 2007-2008. We are currently conducting fundraising for the project.  We welcome you to read more about our events, committees and advisory board and join us in our efforts.  THANK YOU TO OUR 2009 SUPPORTERS!

OAAM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Suite 210 of the Pioneer Trust Building, 117 Commercial Street SE, Salem, OR 97301.

We would be pleased to hear from you! Please let us know what your suggestions, needs or questions are, we will be more than happy to help. Contact Willie Richardson (503) 540-4063.


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