Walk through PSU’s Walk of Heroines to celebrate these and more women leaders

Portland State’s Walk of Heroines was conceived in 1998 as a special place to honor women. It was designed in 2002 by landscape architects Mayer/Reed, and finished in 2011. Special features include a fountain honoring mothers and grandmothers, engraved quotes, a naming wall and sculptures.

This Women’s History Month, take a stroll through Portland State’s Walk of the Heroines and celebrate some of the African American women activists and community leaders who left their mark in our city:

Kathryn Bogle
Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Kathryn Bogle

Kathryn Bogle was a freelance journalist, social worker and community activist 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.

Willie Mae Hart

Willie Mae Hart co-owned Portland’s first Black-owned cab company, which helped people out during the Vanport flood, and was the first African-American nurse to work at Portland’s Physicians and Surgeons Hospital. The PSU Library’s University Archives & Special Collections has this interview with Willie Mae Hart from 2010.

Pauline Bradford

Pauline Bradford, among one of the first African Americans hired by the IRS, was a respected teacher, committed community volunteer and longtime neighborhood advocate. The Portland State University Archives & Special Collections has this interview with Pauline Bradford.

The interviews were conducted by Portland State University public history students in 2010. In winter 2015, with professor Dr. Patricia Schechter, a second cohort of students reviewed the recordings and transcripts of the oral histories and created a digital exhibit containing audio and written excerpts from the interviews, photographs, and historical and biographical information. The digital exhibit can be accessed here.

Marie B. Smith

1953 photo from Portland Challenger via Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection, courtesy PSU Library Archives & Special Collections

Marie B. Smith was a civil rights leader, a Williams Avenue YWCA board member and became the first female president of the Portland branch of the NAACP. 

Verdell Burdine Rutherford

Verdell Burdine Rutherford

Verdell Burdine Rutherford was a prominent leader in Oregon’s civil rights movement. She also was an avid historian who created an extensive collection that chronicled the African American experience in Oregon, which you can now find at Portland State’s Library Archives & Special Collections.

Beatrice Morrow Cannady

1913 photo of Morrow Cannady as part of The Willamette Orchestra from The Advocate via Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection, courtesy PSU Library Special Collections & University Archives

Beatrice Morrow Cannady was a leading champion of Portland progress and racial equality, editor of the Advocate, Oregon’s largest and at times only African American newspaper, and a founding member of the Portland NAACP. 

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Beacon Of Color

35734876_10209214198830669_4585640907247714304_n (2) by Kassandra Johnson

Standing in the hot sun, cheering as each float passed in a flurry of color, it seemed like everyone in Portland was on that street. In that moment I realized something: I’m thankful to live here.

It was Sunday, June 17, and I was at the Pride Parade in downtown Portland. As I looked around all I could see were happy faces. People were clapping along and high-fiving strangers as they passed by. I felt lifted up by the people around me and knew this is why I chose PSU.

There are always ways to get involved in the City of Roses, whether it’s supporting a parade or marching in a protest. Portland and PSU’s urban campus give you the tools to have your voice heard. While living on an urban campus can come with its own trials and tribulations, there is always support to be found in the city.  Becoming a PSU student lets Portland become not only your city but also your community — a community that’s supportive and very accepting of all who call it home.

Tuition increases, this is really happening right now…

By: Sharon Nellist


The PSU Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow, March 12, to vote on the proposed tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year.

The potential 5% increase will leave resident undergraduate and graduate students paying around $330 more each year. Non-resident students will have to pick up the tab with $500 more each year.*


Students are affected by tuition increases: fewer enroll, they graduate later based on the course load they can afford, work longer hours at demanding jobs that interfere with academic performance, and drop out because they do not have enough money and cannot get more!

PSU’s Board of Trustees claims that the potential increase is due to flat enrollment, decreased state support, increase in costs, and the previously negotiated salary increases.*

Higher education is an important part of our country’s economic advancement. Free higher education, as in other developed countries, would ultimately save money with a $15-$30 billion investment. The staggering 70% of Americans who start college and do not graduate is evidence to the billions of dollars currently wasted. The more people there are in college, because they can actually afford it, the less unemployed people there would be seeking government assistance. College graduates without debt would stimulate the economy with the money they do have. Also, an educated society reports a higher level of health and happiness. (Bob Samuels Huffington Post)

I kept my tuition loans low by attending a community college before transferring to Portland State; however, with the consistent increases, I am seriously worried that I will be unable to get the funding for graduate school.

Our Student Body President Eric Noll is raising a rallying cry against the increase to put pressure on the board. Students are encouraged to gather in front of the Millar Library from noon to 1 p.m. this Thursday. #NOSTUDENTVOICEPDX

What do you say? Hope to see you there!

*Proposed agenda for the PSU Board of Trustees Meeting March 12, 2015

It is a wonderful life

By: Sharon Jackson

I absolutely adore this time of year! See expression below.


Bulky sweaters. Knitted socks. Hot holiday beverages. “I could go on forever baby!”

My dad and I used to pull out several boxes of tangled strings of large light bulbs from the attic and attempt to wrestle them into a straight line.


After many hours and a few curse words, we would finally attach them ever so precisely to the outline of our home. I am certain we had the best looking house in the neighborhood.

For this reason I get a bit nostalgic on Peacock Lane: a block in Southeast Portland where each vintage Tudor home has been entirely decorated since 1920.

My mother and I would watch A Christmas Story every year [I seriously believe the movie is an accurate representation of her childhood holidays] and laugh hysterically at the leg lamp catastrophe and terrible gifts from distant relatives until we would cry.


My first holiday in Portland, I started to feel a bit homesick.

For this reason I am always present at Portland’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony in Pioneer Square : the official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 75-foot Douglas fir and a sing-along of all the favorite holiday carols by a family of random strangers, even in the pouring rain!