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It is Important to Recognize Unsung Heroes in the Progress Toward Racial Justice

As Black activism continues to spread across the United States, and as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to gain traction, it is important to remember the heroes who fought for the liberty of those treated differently due to the color of their skin.

Beatrice Morrow Cannady, a Black activist who made herself known in 20th century Portland, Oregon, was one of the heroic activists who made an exceptional difference in Oregon’s Black history.

Cannady began as an editor of the Advocate, a primary source of news that was followed by and created for African American Oregonians.

Cannady was driven to write about important issues within both the Black and White community, while also being a strong advocate for the civil rights of African Americans within Oregon.

Her writings included combatting racial discrimination, the unjust representation of African American lives, stereotypes, and many other important issues addressing crimes involving race.

Canady’s courageous writing paved the way to her being named editor-in-chief of The Advocate.

Cannady’s many feats include founding the Portland branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and graduating as the first Black woman from Portland’s Northwestern College of Law She led protests against racial prejudice, and documented the movements of the Ku Klux Klan.

Cannady did not refrain from writing about serious issues, such as the lynching of a man named George Armwood. Armwood was a Black man who was brutally murdered by a White mob through lynching, though his death was overlooked by law-enforcement. Cannady reported that although an anti-kidnapping bill was advanced due to the unfortunate kidnapping of a White aviator’s son, Congress refused to act in like manner and enact anti-lynching legislation.

Passing away in 1974, Cannady’s bold activism in fighting for the rights of Black citizens during a time of brutal segregation is still an achievement to be remembered.

Cannady paved the way for many Black journalists to make a name for themselves. Though she was hated by many who opposed her views and courageous writings, she deserves to be remembered as one of the most important Black journalists in Oregon history.

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