Black History Film “Local Color” Rereleased

Hi Will, We haven’t been keeping a real accurate tally but, as near as we can figure it, OPB has donated around 350 copies of Local Color to libraries, schools & civic organizations. We are also working to make the program available to watch on-line. Jeff

On 9/13/10 3:28 PM, “WILL BENNETT” wrote

Jeff =
how do I find out just how many copies have been distributed from OPB?
Will b.
Will, In the future, please have anyone interested in getting copies of “Local Color” or in having a public showing of Local Color to contact me directly. We have a limited number of copies of the program and want to make sure they are distributed fairly.Please email me with your request for copies including a description of who will get the copies and how they will be used.
Jeff Douglas
Vice President of Local Production
Thank you|OPB-TV
From the Portland Skanner, July 17 2008
Groundbreaking documentary about Oregon’s racist past comes back to life on DVD
Oregon has a long history of racism and discrimination.
While present-day Oregon is known for a self-congratulating liberal image, Portland State University Professor Darrell Milner says truth is often the casualty.
“You don’t appreciate the origins of racism in Oregon,” he said.
A newly released documentary will help uncover those ugly truths.
In 1991, broadcast journalist Jon Tuttle created “Local Color,” a film that chronicled the little known history of the people involved in the struggle for civil rights in Oregon. The film, produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting, saw only a handful of showings over the next 17 years – its release hampered by a copyright battle over film footage used in the documentary. After solving those disputes, OPB finally released “Local Color” on DVD this week.
“This documentary is a real good knock on the door,” said Millner, who says the average person will probably learn something “pretty unsavory” about the way African Americans were treated in Oregon. Whether it was laws requiring annual whipping of Blacks until they left the state, state exclusion laws or real estate redlining, the one-hour documentary puts traditional Black history lessons on watch.
“Once you get a taste of truth, a taste of reality … you don’t lose that taste,” said Millner, who says the film’s release and distribution in schools will help advance the teaching of more accurate Black history in public schools.
Even the film’s creator had little knowledge about the way Blacks were treated in Oregon – one of the reasons he set out to make the documentary. After a brief battle with leukemia, Tuttle died shortly after the film was released in 1991. At the time, he was OPB’s lead producer for their documentary unit.
The DVD’s release also comes at a time Portland Public Schools are embracing a more thorough teaching of state history. In the fall, more teachers will be presenting the Black history curriculum “Beyond the Oregon Trail” in middle school classrooms.
The program, developed by the Portland organization Uniting to Understand Racism, has been used for several years now by some teachers, although this marks the first year it was officially approved by the school district.
The curriculum also will be used in the Hillsboro school district this year. Macceo Pettis, of Uniting to Understand Racism, said the teacher training and district support help change a system that has whitewashed history.
“We’re not just victims and bad guys and welfare recipients,” he said.
Millner says there needs to be a more comprehensive approach to teaching the history of people of color’s contributions — and discrimination — in Oregon.
“Dealing with this kind of history, the first responsibility is to create a context,” he said.
The film is available through Oregon Public Broadcasting’s website, at, following the links to “shop.”
Golden West Restoration
The Central City Concern will be restoring and expanding the African American history display, visible on the outside of their headquarters in the former Golden West Hotel, at the corner of Northwest Everett and Broadway.
Long a piece of Portland’s African American history, the Golden West served as the only place Blacks could stay until the passage of Oregon’s 1953 public accommodations law. For more information about the hotel and the greater project to restore the African American historical monument and the Golden West Project, visit Will Bennett’s website at
The display’s expansion and restoration – sunlight and some water damage has left the displays in need of repair – were made possible through a $9,250 grant from the city’s Vision into Action program (an offshoot of visionPDX).
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6 Responses to Black History Film “Local Color” Rereleased

  1. I’d love to see this but I don’t have a DVD player.

  2. patricia ford says:

    I would like to have this video how do I purchase it? Patricia Ford

  3. Arthur Wright says:

    would like to know how to get a dvd

  4. Paul fournier says:

    I am auther of the book The Santa Claus of the 20th century. ISBN: 0-9656876-0-0
    Also just completed screen play of this 100% true story. This story has some remarkable Black history to be revealed . At this time I am trying to find some one in Maine that can be of assistance
    in helping me get this movie produced. Guaranteed to change the way people’s out look on how we now view Christmas. Best Black history unkown.

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