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Chehalem Cultural Center Honors Women's History Month in Oregon

By Matt Wastradowski

Harriet “Hattie” Redmond is a name all Oregonians should know. The daughter of freed slaves, Redmond didn't just live in Oregon at a time when the state constitution prevented Black Americans from living or owning property in the state; indeed, the suffragist played a pivotal role in changing laws and attitudes toward women and Black Americans in Oregon throughout the early 1900s.

Redmond is just one of several important women in Oregon history at the heart of the Chehalem Cultural Center's rotating bilingual “We Are Oregon” exhibit, currently on display at the Newberg institution as part of its Women's History Month celebration.

Exhibit Looks at How Women Have Shaped Oregon For More Than Two Centuries

A black and white photo of suffragist and activist Harriet “Hattie” Redmond

The exhibit takes a sweeping approach to Women's History Month, with information, interviews, and stories on important Oregonians alongside reflections on key moments in Oregon's history.

Redmond (1862-1952), for instance, was a suffragist and activist who served as president of the Colored Women's Equal Suffrage Association-which helped Oregon women gain the right to vote in 1912. Denied admission to women's rights groups led by white suffragists, Redmond organized meetings and lectures on her own, helped women register to vote, and was an active participant in political campaigns.

Other exhibit highlights include a timeline of women's contributions to pivotal moments in Oregon history. The timeline starts with Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone woman who in 1905 served as a guide, interpreter, and mediator for the Lewis and Clark Expedition; from there, notable events cover the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850, the role of Abigail Scott Duniway in the state's women's suffrage movement, and Barbara Roberts' election in 1991 as the first female governor of Oregon.

The cultural center also offers a terminology guide to help visitors better understand the different waves of feminism, the concept of intersectionality, and more. Visitors can also peruse a question-and-response component with woman-identifying members of the Chehalem Cultural Center staff. All aspects of the exhibit are presented in English and Spanish.

The Chehalem Cultural Center's Women's History Month exhibit will remain on display through March 31, 2021, at the venue, 415 E. Sheridan St., Newberg. It is open 12-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors can find the exhibit in the Founder's Lobby Gallery at the rear entrance to the center (near the parking lot).

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