Join us for a multi-stop history tour. We will begin the day at the Independence Heritage Museum to view the traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine, Fire & Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America. From there, travel to the Corvallis Museum to explore the exhibit Letitia Carson: An Enduring Spirit of Hope & Freedom. This exhibit was created by Oregon Black Pioneers, as part of the Letitia Carson Legacy Project. Participants will have time to explore both exhibits and have time to visit other parts of each museum.
After visiting the museum, attendees will head to the Reciprocity Garden for a meal and a facilitated conversation about Black foodways and food sovereignty/justice, hosted by Oregon Black Pioneers’ Executive Director Zachary Stocks and Co-Creator of the Reciprocity Garden, Charlotte Epps.
Saturday, July 8th, 2023 | 3PM
$55 per person
Fee is nonrefundable and transportation is not provided
3PM Independence Heritage Museum
4:15PM Corvallis Museum
5:30PM Reciprocity Garden
Meal and facilitated conversation provided
Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America is a traveling exhibition, along with a companion website, which explore ways in which meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes. In the Chesapeake region during the colonial era, European settlers relied upon indentured servants, Native Americans, and enslaved Africans for labor, life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition, and to gain economic prosperity. Fire and Freedom looks into life at George Washington’s Mount Vernon plantation and the labor of enslaved workers to learn about the ways that meals transcend taste and sustenance.
The exhibit and accompanying website were produced by the National Library of Medicine with guest curator Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD. (University of Maryland, College Park).
The Letitia Carson: An Enduring Spirit of Hope and Freedom exhibition is on view at the Corvallis Museum, and was created by Oregon Black Pioneers. The rental of it by BCHS is partially sponsored by the Oregon State University Center for Small Farms and Sustainable Food Systems.
Letitia Carson was one of the first Black women to settle in Oregon. As a formerly enslaved unmarried African-American woman, she is the embodiment of marginalization and exclusion. And yet, she persisted, and won some of her battles. Carson’s story illuminates important facets of what life was like for early African-American settlers in Oregon. An elementary school in Corvallis was recently named for her, and her story is becoming more widely known and recognized through the work of the Letitia Carson Legacy Project.
The Reciprocity Garden is a community project rooted in social justice, land sovereignty, and nutritional security. The Reciprocity Garden is committed to empowering and uplifting community members holding historically excluded identities (primarily Black and Indigenous Students, Students of Color, and LGBTQ+ Students) through the cultivation of meaningful plants. The vision for the project is to create a safe space and sense of community through plants, food, visual arts, storytelling, and music. We want this community space to explore and celebrate our identities and ancestral wisdom. The project goals are to contribute to food security initiatives at OSU and in the greater community and to foster the connection of people to the land, their heritage, and their earthly rights. This project was conceived in October of 2020, making the summer of 2021 our first growing season. The Reciprocity Garden consists of five 120-sqft community garden plots stewarded autonomously by OSU students , and a 1000-sqft communal section where we grow plants requested by cultural centers and organizations on campus. Now, in our third growing season, the Reciprocity Garden has improved infrastructure allowing us to host more classes, seminars, and community gatherings!
Oregon Black Pioneers is Oregon’s only historical society dedicated to preserving and presenting the experiences of African Americans statewide. Since 1993, the organization has illuminated the seldom-told history of people of African descent in Oregon. Inspired by the tenacity of Black Oregonians who have faced discrimination and hardship to make a life for themselves here over the past 400 years, OBP honors their sacrifices by remembering their stories and by sharing them with the public. OBP's vision is to become the preeminent resource for the study of Oregon’s African American history and culture. They work to achieve this vision through our engaging exhibitions, public programs, original publications, and historical research. Additionally, they partner with local organizations to plan, interpret, and advocate for the preservation and commemoration of sites with African American historical significance statewide. Oregon Black Pioneers is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.