A Community

Rises Up

Lyllye Reynolds-Parker

Image credit: University of Oregon Communications

We suffered under covert racism. Nobody stood on the street corner waiving banners and threatening Black people here in Eugene, but you couldn’t rent or buy a house anywhere you wanted to. You couldn’t find a job that paid a living wage. The doors to the University of Oregon weren’t thrown open to local Blacks. Though we weren’t feeling physical violence, we suffered the emotional and mental violence of not being treated equally.

—Lyllye Reynolds-Parker
Background image: March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963
Image credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ds-04000


Racism and Civil Rights in Eugene

Green Book, 1962 Edition

The Green Book listed lodgings, restaurants, and gas stations that would serve Black travelers in the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean. Even after the passage of Oregon’s Civil Rights Bill in 1953, hotels continued to discriminate against Blacks. Only 10 hotels throughout Oregon are listed in the 1962 edition of Green Book.

“[A]ll persons within the jurisdiction of this state shall be entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, without any distinction, discrimination or restriction on account of race, religion, color or national origin.”

—Oregon’s Civil Rights Bill, also known as the Public Accommodations Bill, 1953

Postcard, City Center Lodge

The City Center Lodge, located at 476 East Broadway in Eugene, was the only Lane County hotel listed in the 1962 Green Book. The neon signs are gone, but the hotel still operates today as a Travelodge.

Oregon House Bill 4134

When Oregon State Representative Julie Fahey discovered her property deed said the house could only be sold to “members of the Caucasian race,” she sponsored a state bill to make discriminatory restrictions easier to remove. House Bill 4134, signed into law in 2018, allows homeowners to remove the language for free at their county court.

Although such covenants are not legally enforceable, they are a reminder that it has not been long since this type of discrimination was allowed.

Courtesy of Oregon State Representative Julie Fahey


Black Panthers