We ask only for decent respect and treatment of our Black citizens.

—Clyde DeBerry, CORE President and Director of the University of Oregon
School Desegregation Training and Research Institute, 1967

Clyde DeBerry

Image credit: KEZI 1966-1980 Archives, Coll 427, FV009, 1967. Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Archives


The establishment of the Eugene chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963 sparked the local civil rights movement. Eugene’s Black community faced widespread discrimination, but the areas of most concern were housing, jobs, and education. CORE members gathered data on incidents of police profiling, demonstrated against racism, and tested job and housing listings for racial discrimination.

Image credit: Eugene Register-Guard Archives, October 9, 1963
Image credit: Eugene Register-Guard Archives, August 29, 1963

Founded in 1942, CORE became one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation. They launched the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington in 1963.

Image credit: CORE, “CORE ‘Freedom Now’ button,” in Harlem CORE, Item #7

There was not a bank in this whole city that would lend a Black man money for a business. I decided I was not going to allow this city to run me out of town. I was going to stick and I was going to make a living someway or another.

—Willie C. Mims

Voices of the Community

Some of Eugene’s earliest Black residents were active in CORE. Mattie Reynolds, Annie D. Mims, Sam Reynolds, Jr., Willie C. Mims, and Lyllye Reynolds-Parker were all members.

What do you remember?  What did we forget?  Help us tell the story of Eugene’s civil rights era. Share your memories and reflections here.  

CORE form

My dad spent two tours in Viet Nam. While he served, we were living in Virginia. We were transported to another school because of segregation policies. Yes, I am Black and Proud.

I remember family members making racist comments about African people when I was a child. I committed myself to raise my children with respect for all people.