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Date: 12/06/2011
Oregon’s First African American State Legislator’s Papers Featured on Display December 8-22 Oregon State Capitol Portland State University’s Library will unveil an exhibit of photographs, letters, posters, and clippings drawn from the Avel Louise Gordly papers housed in its collection. Gordly was appointed to the legislature in 1991 and re-elected in 1992 to represent the 19th legislative district. In 1996 she was elected to the state senate, where she served until 2008, when she retired to teach at Portland State University. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Gordly is the first African American woman elected to the state senate in Oregon’s history. The exhibit contains one-of-a-kind materials from Gordly’s public and private life. Gordly gifted her personal papers to the PSU library and Black Studies Department in 2007. She is also a Portland State graduate, having earned a degree in Administration of Justice in 1974. The Avel Gordly Collection is open to researchers and students by appointment at Portland State University Library. The exhibit also highlights elements from Gordly’s recently published memoir, Remembering the Power of Words: The Life of an Oregon Legislator, Activist, and Community Leader published in 2011 by Oregon State University Press. It was the press’s inaugural volume of their new Women and Politics in the Pacific Northwest, edited by Melody Rose. It is available for purchase in the capitol gift shop. The exhibit is on display in the capitol December 8th through 22nd and is free and open to the public.

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