By Amadou Diop, Xfinity Retail Store Manager and Sonja Muchen, Senior Analyst, Billing Systems
Black storytelling is about the American experience from another cultural lens. It’s about sharing our triumphs and the obstacles we overcome every day to become the best versions of ourselves. Examining the Black American experience means discovering new truths about our own communities. For example, many people believe that Oregon lacks a strong Black community, however that’s not the case.
You may know about historical Portland neighborhoods like Vanport: an integrated community of World War II ship builders who defied school segregation. But have you ever heard of Maxville? It was an integrated logging community in eastern Oregon, where neighbors worked side by side flaunting segregation rules. There are many oral histories of Black Americans defying the language that created Oregon as a settlement, stories about people who fought for justice – and prospered.
Today, you can learn more about the history of Portland’s Black community through organizations like The Albina Music Trust, which is preserving the history of the city’s bustling jazz community through musicians like Obo Addy, who brought us culture from the African Diaspora. Local artists like Isaka Shamsud-Din and Arvie Smith have also given us public and private art from their experiences of the Black community in Portland. And there are historical sites like the Mims House in Eugene, owned by a Black family who provided a safe haven for Black travelers including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
For Black History Month, we are challenging this community to learn more about the diverse fabric of Oregon. From frequenting a Comcast RISE business, to exploring the Alberta Arts District, or watching and “Avenues of Dreams: Reclaiming Martin Luther King Boulevards” on Xfinity Black Experience, there are many paths to exploring the experiences of others right here in our community.