October: A Month for Fortitude, or What a Little Courage Can Do


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At the Un-National Monument along the Canadian Border

by William E. Stafford, 1998

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.
Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed—or were killed—on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.



Mark O. Hatfield

by Barbara Mahoney

Senator Hatfield quickly made his mark in his new arena, while avoiding easy classification as a liberal or a conservative. He was often at odds with the White House, whether the president was a Democrat or a Republican. Although he consistently emphasized his support for the troops, his opposition to the Vietnam war did not endear him to President Lyndon Johnson. He openly criticized President Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy," which was intended to strengthen the Republican Party by recruiting conservative Southern Democrats. Hatfield objected to the plan as essentially racist and earned himself a place on Nixon's "enemies list." 


Avel Gordly
by Patricia Schechter

A key affiliation for Gordly was the Black United Front (BUF). A national civil rights group headquartered in Chicago, Portland’s dynamic BUF was founded in 1979 by a core group of activists, including Ronald Herndon and the Reverend John Jackson. In addition to handling media work for the group, Gordly coordinated the Front’s Saturday School, whose African American history program was tied to curriculum reform in the public education system. With the Front’s spin-off, Portlanders Organized for Southern African Freedom, and in concert with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Gordly helped score key anti-apartheid victories in Oregon during the 1980s, including the resignation of the South African consul from his Portland office and divestiture legislation in Salem.


Victor Atiyeh
by Jim Moore

Atiyeh appointed Oregon’s first female Supreme Court Justice, Betty Roberts, and he had the first female chief of staff, Gerry Thompson. In 1981, he pushed for one of the earliest laws against hate crimes in the country. Reflecting his own upbringing among neighbors from diverse cultures in northeast Portland, he felt "that people from other groups were 'on the same level' as him. They were 'just people I grew up with.'" He was recognized for his pioneering efforts with awards from B'nai B'rith and the U.S. Department of Justice. Atiyeh worked with several tribal nations in Oregon as they gained recognition and power from the federal government. The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs recognized his support with a lifetime fishing license for reservation waters.


katherine bogle  

Katherine Hall Bogle
by Kimberley Mangun

Bogle may be best known for “An American Negro Speaks of Color,” a 2,000-word article she sold to the Oregonian in 1937, which described the realities of being black in Portland. It was the first time the newspaper paid an African American for a story, and Bogle would contribute many more articles to the Oregonian over the years.

Kathryn Bogle had a long career as a social worker. She spent seventeen years with the Boys and Girls Aid Society, where she worked for the infant-care division, and was a caseworker at Good Samaritan Hospital & Medical Center for seven years. She also assisted victims displaced by the Vanportflood in 1948.




Robert Straub
by Charles K. Johnson

Robert W. Straub, Oregon’s thirty-first governor, was a plainspoken politician, environmental leader, successful businessman, and innovative state treasurer. As a candidate for governor, he used his friendly rivalry with Tom McCall to help create new environmental protection policies and an Oregon ethic of environmentalism that continues today. As governor, Straub achieved success in environmental and social welfare policies. A complex man, he suffered from periodic depression and a stammer, but with a keen intellect and a strong will he overcame these challenges to leave a mark on Oregon politics.



Kathryn Harrison
by Kristine Olson

At Grand Ronde, Kathryn Harrison was instrumental in restoring the tribal land base, working with Oregon Senator Mark O. Hatfield and Representative Les AuCoin on the Reservation Restoration Act of 1988. She played a vital role in 1995 in setting up the most successful tribal casino in the Northwest—Spirit Mountain Casino—after signing a gaming compact with Governor Barbara Roberts. She also worked to establish the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, a charitable foundation that has distributed over $45 millionto nonprofit agencies in northwest Oregon since 1997.


Beatrice Morrow Cannady
by Quintard Taylor

Two years after joining the Advocate, Cannady became a founding member of the Portland NAACP. She quickly emerged as its most powerful voice when she directed the local protest against the controversial anti-black film, The Birth of a Nation. Cannady and other community leaders carried on a fifteen-year campaign to limit the showing of the film. In 1928, NAACP Executive Secretary James Weldon Johnson invited her to address the association's convention in Los Angeles. In her speech, which followed the keynote by W.E.B. DuBois, she said, "It is the duty of the Negro woman to see that in the home there are histories of her race written by Negro historians. . . . The Negro mother has it within her power to invest less in overstuffed furniture . . . and more in books and music by and about the Negro race so that our youth my grow up with a pride of race which can never be had any other way."


Esther Pohl Lovejoy
by Kimberly Jensen

In the 1912 campaign, Lovejoy worked as a speaker and organizer across Portland’s twenty-three suffrage groups and founded Everybody’s Equal Suffrage League. After Oregon women achieved the vote in 1912, Lovejoy continued to serve as Oregon’s representative to the national organization until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. She ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress in 1920 as the Democratic candidate from Portland’s Third District but did not unseat Republican C. N. McArthur.

moses williams  

Moses Williams
by Greg Shine

Born in rural Louisiana in 1845, Moses Williams joined the U.S. Army in 1866 and embarked on a thirty-one-year military career in the American West, leading troopers of the 9th U.S. Cavalry’s Buffalo Soldiers and receiving the army’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. From his posting as ordnance sergeant at Fort Stevens on the Oregon Coast, Williams petitioned the War Department for the honor fifteen years after demonstrating what the assistant secretary of war later called "most distinguished gallantry in action with hostile Apache Indians in the foothills of the Cuchillo Negro Mountains” in August 1881.

betty roberts  

Betty Roberts
by Gail Wells

Betty Roberts was a thirty-two-year-old housewife with four children when she went back to college in 1955. Her decision went against the wishes of her banker husband and the conventions of 1950s society. That marriage did not last, but Roberts’s step toward independence bore abundant fruit, putting her on the path to a long career in Oregon law and politics. She broke two significant gender barriers, becoming the first woman to serve on both the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Oregon Supreme Court.


Millie R. Trumbull
by Janice Dilg

In 1903, the Oregon State Legislature created the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which included a Board of Inspectors of Child Labor. Trumbull was one of five commissioners appointed to the board. The board was not allocated any appropriations for paid staff until 1911, however, so it could have been powerless. But Trumbull “dug deep into her own pocket, and the pockets of other board members” to pay for minimal expenses to enforce the child labor law. She was the most visible presence of the board, visiting manufacturers and harvesting and canning facilities that used child labor. Governor Oswald West judged that the success attained by the commission was “largely due to her conscientious service.”



Stephen S. Wise
by Ellen Eisenberg

During the 1930s, Wise was tireless in his efforts on behalf of European Jews, leading a 1933 Jewish boycott of Germany, finding refuge for those fleeing Europe, publicly revealing evidence of the Final Solution, and working toward the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. This work found organizational form in the World Jewish Congress, created in 1936; Wise was a founder and served as president until his death. In addition to the New York synagogue, the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles and a street in Jerusalem are named after him.