The City of Vanport and its Struggle with Racism Before and After the Flood of Vanport

The City of Vanport and its Struggle with Racism Before and After the Flood of Vanport

Length: 743 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

It demolished everything within its path. It shattered the homes of thousands, it destroyed the lives of many, and it ended the lives of few. It was known as the Vanport Flood. On Sunday, May 30th, 1948 the Columbia River poured through the city of Vanport without any warning to the residents who lived there. Stuart Mcelderry described within his article “Vanport Conspiracy and Social Relations in Portland, 1940-1950,” that a railroad embankment serving as a levy gave way. Within 45 minutes the entire city of 18,500 people was under several feet of water and gone for good. The city of Vanport was home to many white and African American families who then became homeless. As devastating of a tragedy this was, the flood of Vanport was a stepping stone for racism within Oregon and the Portland area.
Due to the fact Vanport was temporary housing built in just a couple months, it lacked foundation and sturdiness. The fragile apartments caused the majority of the buildings to be swept away in the wave of water that was 15 feet above the actual city. (Oregonian). The surprisingly low number of casualties, along with the multiple day wait for the river levels to go down so that the city could be thoroughly searched, allowed time for rumors to be created about the flood due to the extent of the natural disaster. It had many people wondering whether or not HAP lied about the actual number of deaths that occurred. Theories consisted of the government secretly loading the dead bodies on ships, to the bottom-floor apartments being “clogged with bodies,” or that a school bus had been seen with limbs of children trying to escape through the windows. (McElderry) The aftermath of the flood left the thousands without a home, food, or for some, no ma...

... middle of paper ...

...1. Print.
Abbott, Carl. "Vanport." The Oregon Encyclopedia. Web.
Law, Steve. "Vanport Flood Left Changes in Wake." Portland Tribune. Pamplin Media Group, 06 June 2012.
Maben, Manly. “Vanport.” Portland, Or.: Oregon Historical Society, 1987. Web. 86
McElderry, Stuart. “Vanport Conspiracy and Social Relations in Portland, 1940-1950.” Oregon Historical Quarterly. Vol 99, No.2 (Summer 1998), pp. 134-163
McGregor, Michael. “The Vanport Flood & Racial Change in Portland.” Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society, 2003.
Pearson, R. N. (1996). African Americans in Portland, Oregon, 1940-1950: Work and living
conditions – a social history. Unpublished dissertation, Washington State University
Department of History, Pullman.
Pearson, Rudy. "Vanport (1942-1948)", African American History in the American West: Online Encyclopedia of Significant People and Place. Web.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Racism in Ernest Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying Essay

- After the civil war ended many blacks and whites especially in the south, continued living as if nothing had changed with regards to the oppressions and poor treatment of African Americans. Narrator Grant Wiggins, of the novel A Lesson Before Dying, By Ernest Gaines, finds himself in a similar situation towards racism. Through his experience Grant is forced to transform Jefferson who was wrongly accused of a murder from a “HOG” into a man. Although Grant was forced to make jefferson a man, he himself became more of one as a result....   [tags: racism, prejudice]

Better Essays
512 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Racism in A Lesson Before Dying

- A Lesson Before Dying is set in rural Louisiana in the 1940’s. The setting is ripe for the racism displayed in the novel. Ernest J. Gaines weaves an intricate web of human connections, using the character growth of Grant Wiggins and Jefferson to subtly expose the effect people have on one another (Poston A1). Each and every character along the way shows some inkling of being a racist. However, Paul is an exception. He treats everyone as if he or she is equal to him whether the person is black or white....   [tags: American History, Racial Relations]

Better Essays
1671 words (4.8 pages)

Racism Is A Problem Since Before You And I Were Born Essay

- Taking on Racism Racism has been a problem since before you and I were born. Racism in the workplace can cause lowered pay, aggressive behavior, and overall bad feeling in the minds of the person affected. This can become bad for the employer and society. Racism still plays a part in certain workplaces when it comes to people getting the job that they would like. Learning how to deal with racism during these situations can also be challenging. When looking for a job, you would want a job that is going to treat you equality and fairness as everyone else....   [tags: Racism, Race, White people, African American]

Better Essays
1506 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Racism In The NFL

- Today in America the word Racism is taken to a whole new level. Even in sports, such as the NFL racism prospers. For instance the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Native Americans are trying to say the NFL is being rude for naming a Team Redskins. The Redskins have had that name since 1933 (Staff). The team had the name of Braves before they adopted the name Redskins. It was changed due to racism purposes. Some people would agree that the whole situation with Redskins is ridiculous because The Major League Baseball series has two teams related to Native Americans, The Atlanta Braves and The Cleveland Indians....   [tags: Racism Essays]

Better Essays
1600 words (4.6 pages)

Racism : Racism And Racism Essay

- Remember how I told you that people around me are racist. My aunt and uncle, my best friend, and at one point, my parents. Yes, that’s right. Your brother was at one time, and sometimes still is, kind of racist. So why am I writing you this letter. Well I just read this interesting article about racism, specifically biker weeks that were basically segregated. And we know a lot about bikers, since Dad used to be one. So in South Carolina, one biker week called Harley week is exclusively white while the other called Black Bike is solely black....   [tags: Racism, White people, Race, Race]

Better Essays
1460 words (4.2 pages)

Equal Before the Law: The Key to Counter Racism Essays

- H. G. Wells once said, “ Our true Nationality, is mankind.” We are all humans regardless of what color, race and culture we are from. We may be different in many ways and our cultures may be a borderline that divides us, but the fact that we are all humans unites us. Racism and ethnic discrimination is a global, social, and environmental issue that over the years has been developed. We fear what we do not understand and the only way that our minds can comprehend it is to hate it, I truthfully consider that’s how racism begun and why it’s increasing over time, hopefully not letting history repeat itself....   [tags: racism, stereotypes, cultures]

Better Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Racism And The Poor Inner City Essay

- Coming from living in a poor inner city neighborhood in Chicago as a child was distinctive from other places, in terms of gender socialization. There wasn’t nothing major for me to be socialized with my gender that I do plus, I grew up interacting with most of my cousins who are female, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a male that I am today. When I came to Iowa from Chicago, it increased my awareness on racism and when I’m somewhere with no or less Black people, I tend to use stereotypes black people are victimized towards, to increase my self-esteem....   [tags: Gender, White people, Race, Black people]

Better Essays
1223 words (3.5 pages)

Free Essays - A Lesson Before Dying

- Ganes, Earnest J. A Lesson Before Dying. New York: Vintage Books 1993. Genre: Novel 256 pages Setting: The story is set in a small Cajun Louisiana town in the 1940’s. The setting in this story is significant because, the whole story is about how a young black boy is treated unfairly and sentenced to death because of something he did not do. It also deals with the emotions that this black boy faces because he has been treated unfairly by the white people. Major Characters: Jefferson, black boy who is accused of a crime and sentenced to death; Grant Wiggons, teacher sent to help Jefferson....   [tags: Lesson Before Dying Essays]

Free Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)

Environmental Racism Essay

- When one discusses acts of racism, slander or the stereotyping of a group of people may come to mind. However, the concept of environmental racism is rarely considered. This form of racism positions dominant environmental framing as racially driven, in which people of color (i.e. minorities) are affected disproportionately by poor environmental practices. Communities of color throughout the United States have become the dumping grounds for our nation’s waste disposal, as well as home to agricultural and/or manufacturing industries that pollute the land....   [tags: Racism Essays]

Better Essays
1447 words (4.1 pages)

Institutional Racism Essay

- Institutional racism is still prevalent in the United States. Racial groups are both denied or granted certain rights. Although there may no longer be lynch mobs or Jim Crow, there is still rampant racism from New York to Jena, Louisiana. Society should disband its racial conventions in programs such as affirmative action. It should instead adopt a new system based on many more factors than a person’s ethnic background. Decades ago the issue was over creating equal opportunities for all people regardless of ethnic background....   [tags: racism, discrimination, prejudice]

Better Essays
934 words (2.7 pages)