Kathryn Hall: The First Black Woman To Hold A State Government Position In OregonP


Over the years, history has been sharing a good deal of news across the board and if there was anyone who as a primal African-American journalist in Oregon and the first black intelligent woman to hold a government position then she was Kathryn Hall Bogle.

Kathryn Hall Bogle was born in 1906 in Oklahoma, and to Portland she came with her family. She started her career as a journalist in the year 1931 while she was attending University of Oregon. Simply put, she was working as a journalist while pursuing her education at the University of Oregon. At the time whereby there were racial slurs directed against her in the State, she put on paper an article regarding her negative response. Her professor in journalism then sent her article to The Christian Science Monitor, which after publishing paid her fifteen dollars. Kathryn later in about five years called The Oregonian editor simply because an article was published presenting racist stereotypes of African-American people which made her irritated.

These primal successes were momentaneous. Kathryn was never hired as a full-time reporter for any Oregon magazine, newspaper, or radio station. But then she later wrote for a number of black newspapers including the Portland Scanner, the Northwest Enterprise in Seattle and the Portland Observer and the Pittsburgh Courier. Later, Kathryn recalled a 1939 interview with a Portland, Oregon newspaper where the editor acknowledged her abilities but rejected to hire her to work at the press agency. He however gave her a job in his home as a maidservant.

Kathryn Hall Bogle

Kathryn was hired to work for the U.S. Employment Service in Portland. In doing so, history have it that she became only the second black woman to be hired in a professional capacity by the federal government in Oregon.

Kathryn Hall Bogle as we speak now is no more in existence, yet she is most commemorated for the role she played as a social worker and in 1948 she helped about hundreds of displaced families and persons find shelter following the Memorial Day flood that ravaged Vanport, Oregon, the largest government-sponsored housing project in the country. She worked with organizations such as the Good Samaritan Hospital and Boys and Girls Aid Society, getting them for the first time to provide help to African Americans.

In 1956, Kathryn Hall Bogle worked with the Oregon League of Women Voters to pass the nation’s first civil rights act.
She, Kathryn Hall Bogle, again organized a group called “The Friends of Golden West” which led the effort to restore the Golden West Hotel in downtown Portland. This hotel was the largest black-owned hotel west of the Mississippi River, providing rooms for African Americans travelling for employment as ship or railroad workers at the starting of the 20th Century.
Though in the 1930s and 1940s, she was unable to find regular employment as a journalist in Oregon. Kathryn, in 1993 was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Portland Association of Black Journalists.

Sadly, in August 2003 at the age of ninety-six, Kathryn Hall Bogle passed away in Portland, Oregon.


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