Event: Letitia Carson in Court: The Unlikely Story of Resistance and Resilience in Early Oregon

Date: November 3, 2022

Start Time: 6:00 pm

End Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Pittock Mansion

Address: 3229 NW Pittock Drive Portland, Portland, OR 97201

Given the pervasive White supremacy that dominated antebellum Oregon, including notorious Black exclusion laws, it seems remarkable that a Black woman in 1843 would file suit against a White man at all—let alone win. Yet, that’s exactly what happened!

Join Historian Stephanie Vallance as she tells the extraordinary story of Letitia Carson who, despite blatant state-sanctioned racism and widespread anti-Black sentiment, won two court cases against Greenberry Smith, her wealthy, White, land-owning neighbor.

How and why, Letitia emerged successful illuminates the mostly untold story of Black women in the history of Oregon settlement and the often contradictory racial and political landscape of Oregon’s early statehood. Stephanie Vallance works as the Public Historian for the Gresham Historical Society, managing the Gresham Public History Project. She received a Master’s in Public History from Portland State University. Her master’s thesis, Letitia Carson in Court: African American Women, Property, and Wages in the Pacific Northwest centers Letitia Carson’s legal strategy within early 19th-century issues of gender, property, and power.

Regular price $7

Doors open at 5:30pm.

Thank you to our Supporting Sponsor Skin by Lovely.